?Mancester United kick off their Europa League campaign against Kazakhstani-based side FC Astana on Thursday.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is managing in the competition for the first time, after leading the Red Devils to a famous victory over PSG in the Champions League last campaign – before being eliminated by Barcelona in the quarter finals.
They come into the fixture following an important win over Leicester City on Saturday and will be hoping to repeat the feat on Thursday.
Where to Watch
|?When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 19 September?|
|?What Time Is Kick Off?||?20:00 (BST)|
|?Where Is It Played?||?Old Trafford|
|?TV Channel/Live Stream?||?BT Sport 1|
Where to Buy Tickets
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be without a number of first team players as injuries continue to ravage the Red Devils’ squad. ?
The talismanic ?Paul Pogba remains doubtful with an ankle injury he sustained on international duty, while Anthony Martial and Luke Shaw are also likely to play no part.
United will also be without long term absentees Diogo Dalot and Eric Bailly, with the latter expected to be out until the new year.
Because of these injuries Solskjaer may use the game to rotate his squad. Sergio Romero, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe have not played yet this season and may all be involved, while United’s youth academy academy graduates – namely Tahith Chong, Mason Greenwood and Angel Gomes – are also options.
|?Manchester United||?Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Tuanzebe, Maguire, Young; Fred, McTominay; Mata; Greenwood, Rashford, Chong.|
|?FC Astana||Eric; Rukavina, Postnikov, Simunovic, Shomko; Tomasov, Logvineko, Maevski, Sigurjonsson; Rotariu, Murtazayev.?|
Head to Head Record
FC Astana were only formed in 2010 so it is no surprise that they have never faced off against ?Manchester United before. ?
In fact, this will be the first time that they have played an English team in their short history – although they did face Celtic in a Champions League qualifying game in 2017.
Manchester United’s start to the Premier League season has been largely indifferent. After blowing Chelsea away 4-0 on the opening day of the season United have gone on a run of three games without winning – even falling to defeat at home to Roy Hodgson’s Crystal Palace.
Saturday’s win over Leicester was much needed and resulted in the Red Devils shooting up the table into fourth place.
FC Astana on the other hand are well underway in their defence of their Kazakhstan Premier League title. The division runs from spring until autumn in order to avoid the freezing winter weather that makes pitches unplayable.
Astana are currently five points off top club FC Tobol with two games in hand and seem to be hitting form at a crucial time of the season. They have won four of their past five league games as they continue to strive for a sixth successive league title.
Here’s how both sides have performed in their last five matches.
|?Manchester United||FC Astana?|
|?Manchester United 1-0 Leicester City (14/9)||?FC Astana 2-1 Shaktar K. (15/9)|
|?Southampton 1-1 Manchester United (31/8)||?BATE 2-0 FC Astana (29/8)|
|?Manchester United 1-2 Crystal Palace (24/8)||?FC Astana 5-0 Taraz (25/8)|
|?Wolves 1-1 Manchester United (19/8)||?FC Astana 3-0 BATE (22/8)|
|?Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea (11/8)||?Valletta 0-4 FC Astana (15/8)|
?Although Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is likely to rest a number of players for Thursday game, anything less than a win would be unacceptable.
The quality that United possess will surely be enough to overcome the Kazakhstani champions.
Prediction: Manchester United 4-1 FC Astana