Old Trafford awaits: possible Manchester United and Real Betis lineups in Europa League
Real Betis take on Manchester United in the hunt for a place in the quarter-finals of the Europa League.
Real Betis take a trip to Manchester United (15:00 ET) with the hope of being the team who passes through to the round of 16 of the Europa League. One can’t help but feel that, in a tie like this, the Spanish side have nothing to lose and everything to gain. There is a huge sense of excitement in such a high-flying event, the ones the fans have dreamed of since Manuel Pellegrini took the reins of the team two and a half years ago in an effort to write victorious lines in the Betis history book. Los Verdiblancos have to show their best side at Old Trafford, the famous stage that Bobby Charlton baptised as ‘The Theatre of Dreams’.
And the Spanish team have many dreams; perhaps as many as the difficulties they will come across on their way to the quarterfinals of this relentless competition. The first step will be to compete against a side that has been resurrected under Erik Ten Hag and that has suffered just two defeats in 23 games. But the great moments in sport do not listen to numbers: Los Verdiblancos arrive after drawing against the European champions while their opponent received a historic beating at Anfield. Football, eh?
Pellegrini doesn’t want the memory of a half-baked attempt at Old Trafford: he will go with everything even though he may not have everything. Without Fekir, prayers will be said to revive the best version of Sergio Canales’ Cantabrian magician. His rotational system will continue to be present; Joaquín, the eternal captain, raises his hand to lead his team in this stake that, come what may, will already be part of the club’s history.
The winger will have luxury companions such as a rested Juanmi and a fiery Borja Iglesias. With Guido supporting him along with William Carvalho to manage the madness, the Chilean’s recipe is aimed at challenging that chilling match pace that Manchester United always provide, especially in their own stadium and especially after the drubbing that Liverpool (7-0) handed them.
Manchester United go into the game as unsurprising favourites and with a feeling of revenge after their chaos in the last round of the Premier League. Before the Anfield disaster, it seemed as though Erik Ten Hag had found the formula to revive a stale project: Casemiro. The Brazilian spread his winning character across the team like a grand master. However, the ex-Madridista, already on a yellow card, is a doubt in their plan.
Despite this, there are devastating weapons at the ready that Betis are bound to fear. Rashford will show his teeth in his battle this season to sit at the table of the greats. Garnacho is set to continue, Bruno Fernandes will show character and Sancho shall bring the courage. Despite the morale dip, football is not a problem for them and that is what Manchester United can rely on during another European night; Betis does not want to live as a silent guest who never stood up and spoke their part of the script.
Manchester United: De Gea; Dalot; Varane, Martínez, Shaw; Casemiro, Fred, Fernandes; Sancho, Garnacho, Rashford
Real Betis: Rui Silva; Sabaly, Pezzella, Luiz Felipe, Abner; Carvalho, Guido, Juanmi, Joaquín, Canales; Borja Iglesias