Prediction and odds for the game: Manchester United (8/13) vs Milan (9/2)
We are backing the home win
Where: Old Trafford
On Thursday evening, Manchester United and AC Milan go head-to-head at Old Trafford, in the first leg of the last-16 of the Europa League. This tie is one of the highlights of the current round of the competition.
Fresh from a 2-0 win at city-rivals Manchester City, the home team head into what could be a tricky tie considering the visitors strong season so far at home and abroad. The win at the Etihad Stadium means that United are unbeaten in their last 11 matches in all competitions. It also saw the men from Manchester keep a fourth straight competitive clean sheet.
With a title challenge still looking unlikely, despite the win over leaders City, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s team may nose turned their nose up at winning the Europa League.
United dropped down into the Europa League from the Champions League. Their recent record in European football’s secondary competition is a positive one, as United have suffered just one defeat in their previous nine outings. The one defeat was at this stage of the competition last season when they suffered a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Spanish outfit Sevilla.
United made easy work of beating another Spanish team in Real Sociedad in the last-32 of this season’s competition, as the Red Devils recorded a 4-0 aggregate win over La Real.
The Rossoneri are enjoying their best campaign in years, as Gennaro Gattuso’s are currently second in Serie A, six points behind arch-rivals Inter. They will still believe that they can catch Antonio Conte’s team at the top of the table. However, just qualifying for the Champions League this season will be an achievement. Winning silverware in the Europa League this season would also be a bonus for the Rossoneri.
Milan head into this clash on the back of a four-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Last time out, they recorded a 2-0 win at Verona.
The visitors are unbeaten in their previous five matches in the Europa League, having suffered just one defeat in their last 11 matches in the competition. The Rossoneri are unbeaten in their previous six away games in the Europa League.
One big negative is that star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks set to miss out through injury. The veteran forward would have relished a return to his old stomping ground of Old Trafford.
The home side is currently the favourites to win the Europa League this season and we believe that the Red Devils will record a victory, as Milan are not in the same rich of vein of form as earlier in the season. The other bet we are recommending is Anthony Martial to be an anytime goalscorer. The Frenchman has not enjoyed the most consistent of campaigns but enjoyed one of his best games of the season against Manchester City.
Verdict: We are backing the home win at odds of 8/13 and/or Anthony Martial first goalscorer at odds of 13/10. (All odds are taken from Bet365).[geosnippet id=3620]
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Is the team from Manchester or Milan get the upper hand for the second leg of this big Europa League?