Manchester United vs FC Copenhagen: Europa League Preview and Prediction
Manchester United’s final hope of silverware for this season continues in the Europa League quarter-finals against Danish outfit FC Copenhagen.
After Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rested most of the players who played almost all the league games after the restart against LASK, United will be facing Copenhagen at a neutral venue as the competition enters its one-legged knock-out phase.
The Red Devils won the Europa league the last time they were a part of it in 2017, while Copenhagen are in an unusual place, having never gone past the Round of 16 in the European competition. However, Stale Solbakken’s side can increase their value in the club’s history if they go on to upset United.
Head to Head Stats
The sides will be going head-to-head for the first time in their history. With Copenhagen’s slow progress, there may be more battles between the two in the future.
United enter the game with an impressive record, losing one out of their last 23 games in all competitions. The second leg against LASK was turning out to be a tricky one but an Anthony Martial winner made it simple for United.
United are expected to field their strongest XI and that is the one that played the majority of league games after the restart.
Copenhagen did not have the same fate as United post lockdown, winning just three of their final ten games of the domestic campaign as FC Midtjylland swooped in to claim the top-flight title.
Manchester United have lost one, drawn one and won three in their last five games in all competitions while Copenhagen have also the same record in their last five games.
United will be without three defenders for the quarter-final. Alongside Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe, left-back Luke Shaw has also been sidelined until the next season with an ankle injury. His absence will be "a blow" for United as per Solskjaer.
This makes room for a young Brandon Williams who is still fresh from penning a new contract.
Copenhagen are without suspended striker Michael Santos. Fellow forwards Viktor Fischer and Nicolaj Thomas along with the defender Ragnar Sigurdsson are also expected to miss the crucial fixture.
Solbakken was a former teammate of Solskjaer in the Norwegian national team. He also called United as one of the favorites to win the tournament and that shows the bonding the two had when they played alongside each other.
After two weeks without playing for United’s strongest XI, there may be some doubts about the team’s performance when they get back on the pitch. However, the quality will still be there and hence Manchester United are expected to go through without much trouble, unlikely to what the United boss commented as he called this fixture as a ‘difficult one’.
Prediction: Manchester United 3-1 FC Copenhagen