The early team news and predicted line ups as Man Utd travel to face Real Betis in the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie
Manchester United head into the second leg of their Europa League knockout tie against Real Betis today with a comfortable lead following a 4-1 win last week.
Erik ten Hag’s side are heavy favourites to progress to the quarter-final stage of the competition, but that doesn’t mean he will make wholesale changes for the game.
The United manager has been reluctant to make heavy changes for any match this season, and not even a three-goal cushion is a certainty of a rotated side on Thursday night.
In terms of early team news, Marcel Sabitzer and Victor Lindelof are available for selection. Anthony Martial, Antony and Alejandro Garnacho will all miss out.
United need to get some players prepared for the quarter-final on Sunday, so there is logic in starting Marcel Sabitzer and Fred, rather than selecting Casemiro. Raphael Varane and Luke Shaw have earned breathers while Diogo Dalot needs to regain form.
It is difficult to recall a United player starting 16 successive games and playing so inadequately as Wout Weghorst and that experiment has to end. Facundo Pellistri is overdue a full debut and should be accommodated in a menacing attack with Jadon Sancho back in a more familiar role.
Ten Hag has to make changes given United’s commanding position in this tie. It’s inconceivable that even a team featuring changes can lose by three goals and he has five subs to call on anyway if he feels it getting nervous.
Dalot can come back in at right-back and Maguire can start ahead of Varane, who will benefit from the rest. Martinez’s passing should keep him in the team but Malacia is a capable back-up to Shaw.
The options in midfield are limited. Casemiro has to start given his domestic suspension and I’d stick with Fred and Fernandes, with the aim of giving Sabitzer some minutes off the bench.
Weghorst and Sancho can start again, with Rashford given a break, and Pellistri is due a full debut.