The Red Devils will host French side St. Etienne in their midweek round of 32 Europa League fixture. The two sides previously met way back in 1977-78, in the first round of the Cup Winners’ Cup. United will want to progress in the competition but it’s incredibly hard to win it even through the last three years have had the same winners.
Manchester United- Manchester United will miss old generals Wayne Rooney and Michael Carrick for this crucial tie as manager Jose Mourinho has decided to rest them as a precaution for their minor muscular concerns. Defender Phil Jones is again sidelined with a foot injury and won’t feature in this game. Although Luke Shaw is fit to start now after a long-term injury, the manager has clearly stated that he wishes to start with his fixed back four of Valencia, Bailly, Smalling and Blind. Marcos Rojo is available for selection after he was substituted at half-time of United’s 3-0 win over Leicester.
St. Etienne- The French side doesn’t have many injuries to worry about unlike Manchester United. Manager Christophe Galtier will continue to miss the services centre-forward Robert Beric and winger Oussama Tannane. While Beric is out since last November missing 19 matches, Tannane has been sidelined since last month. Hence, it won’t be much of a makeshift change for the boss as none of the injuries has caught them off-guard.
Manchester United (4-2-3-1)- De Gea; Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Blind; Herrera, Pogba; Martial, Mkhitaryan, Mata; Ibrahimovic
St. Etienne (4-2-3-1)- Ruffier; Pogba, Perrin, Théophile-Catherine, Malcuit; Pajot, Veretout; Monnet-Paquet, Saivet, Jorginho; Hamouma
Manchester United- Although Ibrahimovic is stated by many to be rested for the tie keeping an eye on United’s weekend game against Blackburn Rovers, one should really look at the Swede’s record against St Etienne. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has scored more goals (14) against St Etienne than he has against any other side in his career.
Apart from him, Henrikh Mkhitaryan could be a huge threat to the French side. The Armenian got his touch back in the United’s last Europa League game against Zorya and he would like to continue his form in this fixture too.
St. Etienne- Centre-forward Romain Hamouma could be United’s biggest threat. The French striker has scored six goals so far and assisted four times, in 18 appearances. The other striker, Nolan Roux, has also looked clinical at times for the French side and United will surely be wary of him.
Manchester United @ 1.33
Draw @ 5.50
St. Etienne @ 11.00