Old Trafford, Manchester
UEFA Europa League 2016/17
Thursday 20th October 2016 – KO 20:05 [Live on BT Sport]
Referee: Benoît Bastien (FRA)
Assistant Referees: Frédéric Haquette (FRA) and Hicham Zakrani (FRA)
Additional Assistant Referees: Benoît Millot (FRA) and Jérôme Miguelgorry (FRA)
Fourth Official: Julien Pacelli (FRA)
Manchester United will be pitted against Fenerbahçe in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening at Old Trafford. The return of Robin van Persie to the Theatre of Dreams, which many will enjoy, could well be a tough encounter for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United side. Fresh from the Anfield match which United earned a draw from, playing a good tactical match and getting not quite what they wanted, but a point is better than nothing. United will need to start finding their feet, and finding some goals as the last two matches against Stoke City and Liverpool resulted in one goal being scored, and that, with the wealth of attacking talent at the club, is not good enough. Mourinho will be looking to solve the problems, as with his squad of players. During his press conference on Wednesday afternoon, he confirmed that Luke Shaw would start the match, but refused to reveal any more information. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back from injury and it was revealed that the Portuguese manager may not rotate his side massively.
United have faced Fenerbahce four times, albeit in the UEFA Champions League, winning twice and losing twice; one of those matches the 6-2 thrashing which unveiled an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney to the Theatre of Dreams, scoring a hat-trick on his debut. The Turkish side may not have had a great start to their season, sitting ninth in the Süper Lig, but Mourinho stated that he was not going to take that for granted, which should be the case as Fenerbahçe are unbeaten in the Europa League this season. This alone should be something that United need to concentrate on, ensure that by the time the match is over, Fenerbahçe have been defeated in the Europa League this season, with another encounter in a fortnight’s time. Mourinho will want to keep his current undefeated form in all competitions, especially with the big games that are coming up with Chelsea and Manchester City on the horizon.
United have a great group of players, but so far things have not worked all that well. We have seen some good games of football, the 4-1 victory over Leicester City for instance, consistency is not something that has stuck in the side, which needs to be present. It is all well and good performing, but that needs to be present week in and week out. I am sure United will get there, though. Injury has seen players missing for a few weeks with Luke Shaw and Henrikh Mkhitaryan, two key players for the side. Phil Jones has also spent time on the sidelines, but when has he not? Shaw will play against Fenerbahçe and hopefully, Mkhitaryan will get some minutes on the pitch as it would be good to see him in the side, raring to go and hopefully finding his top form.
Manchester United Form:- DDWWW
Liverpool 0-0 D, Stoke City 1-1 D, Zorya Luhansk 1-0 W, Leicester City 4-1 W, Northampton Town 3-1 W
Manchester United played a good game against Liverpool, pegging the home side into their own area for much of the match, despite having a lesser share of possession. Liverpool were expected to rip United apart, but failed to do so, probably down to the fact Jose Mourinho had set his team to play a tactical game, something which failed against Manchester City, resulting in a 2-1 defeat, but very much worked against Liverpool, who have been on form after winning their previous five matches in all competitions. Fenerbahçe could be a different game completely. The Turkish side are not doing well in the Süper Lig, currently sitting in lowly ninth place in the league, but in Europa, the Turks are yet to be beaten having drawn their opening match against Zorya Luhansk and beaten Feyenoord.
Fenerbahçe Form:- DDWWW
Alanyaspor 1-1 D, Osmanlıspor 1-1 D, Feyenoord 1-0 W, Gaziantepspor 2-1 W, Kasımpaşa 5-1 W
Fenerbahçe are a team playing well in tournaments, yet underachieving in their own league. Having draw and won their first two matches in the UEFA Europa League this season, they are yet to be beaten, which could happen against Manchester United. Sitting ninth in the Süper Lig this season, there is a lot to do back home to better their position, but in Europe, they could be heading for a place in the knockout stages, should they maintain their run. The double-header against United (20th October and the 3rd November) could set the men from the boys as two defeats will change their fortunes considerable. The return of Robin van Persie to Old Trafford will be applauded, but the fact he’s only scored one goal this season may be a sign that he is not quite the player he once was.
Manchester United Top Scorers:
6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Juan Mata, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling
Fenerbahçe Top Scorers:
6 – Emmanuel Emenike, 3 – Miroslav Stoch, 2 – Josef de Souza, Ozan Tufan, Simon Kjær, 1 – Aatif Chahechouhe, Alper Potuk, Fernandão, İsmail Köybaşı, Mehmet Topal, Moussa Sow, Robin van Persie
Manchester United Squad;
Manager: Jose Mourinho
Goalkeepers: David De Gea, Sergio Romero, Sam Johnstone
Defenders: Eric Bailly, Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo, Chris Smalling, Daley Blind, Luke Shaw, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Axel Tuanzebe
Midfielders: Paul Pogba, Memphis Depay, Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard, Michael Carrick, Ashley Young, Ander Herrera, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marouane Fellaini, Morgan Schneiderlin
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford
Injuries and Suspensions: Phil Jones (knee)
Manager: Dick Advocaat
Goalkeepers: Volkan Demirel, Ertuğrul Taşkıran, Fabiano
Defenders: Hasan Ali Kaldırım, Simon Kjær, Şener Özbayraklı, Savaş Polat, İsmail Köybaşı, Gregory van der Wiel, Roman Neustädter, Martin Škrtel
Midfielders: Mehmet Topal, Souza, Alper Potuk, Ozan Tufan, Volkan Şen, Ramazan Civelek, Muhammed Karakoç, Ahmethan Köse, Salih Uçan, Jeremain Lens, Miroslav Stoch
Forwards: Robin van Persie, Moussa Sow, Emmanuel Emenike, Caner Koca
Injuries and Suspensions: N/A
Predicted Starting XI:
Manchester United 2-1 Fenerbahçe