Prediction & odds for the game: Manchester United (1/4) v LASK (11/1)
When: Wednesday, 5th August @ 8pm K.O
Where: Old Trafford
Manchester United will go into their UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg tie against LASK with a commanding 5-0 lead on Wednesday night.
After finishing in the top four of the Premier League, Manchester United can rest easy knowing that they’ll be playing in the UEFA Champions League next season. Still, as one of the favourites to walk away with the Europa League trophy, they’ll want to at least try and make a run all the way through to the final. Their task begins against LASK, and after their dominance in the first leg, they can probably afford to relax and play some fringe players on Wednesday.
A dominant 3-0 win over Aston Villa back in July gave United the confidence they needed in the top four race, but a 2-2 draw against Southampton brought them right back down to earth. They did then beat Crystal Palace, but losing to Chelsea in the FA Cup followed by a 1-1 draw with West Ham didn’t set them up for a great final day. Still, even after those struggles, they were able to secure the 2-0 win they needed to edge past Leicester.
While it hasn’t exactly been a full capitulation for LASK since the restart, it’s certainly safe to say that their season has fizzled out in recent weeks. They were never going to go into a two-legged tie against Manchester United as the favourites, but when you consider the position they find themselves in after the first leg, they don’t really have anything to lose when they make the trip over to Old Trafford. They just need to go straight for United and hope they restore some kind of dignity to the overall scoreline.
June was looking like a pretty strong month for LASK after they pieced together three huge wins: 4-0 vs Sturm Graz, 2-0 vs Sturm Graz and 5-1 vs Hartberg. Alas, the honeymoon didn’t last forever as they subsequently lost 1-0 to RZ Pellets WAC before two July defeats against Rapid Wien and Salzburg.
The Red Devils don’t exactly need to throw everything they’ve got at LASK, but at the same time, they don’t want to risk falling victim to one of the worst collapses in the history of modern football. They’ll keep it tight enough at the back and try to simply get through the game, because as we all know, there’s very little chance of it becoming a competitive contest. We’re expecting a narrow win for United who will already have one eye on the quarter-finals.
We aren’t convinced that it’ll be the most thrilling game we’ve ever seen, and therefore, we’re backing the under 2.5 goals market.
Verdict: Back the home win at odds of 1/4 and the under 2.5 goals scored at odds of 6/4 (All odds are taken from bet365).