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Preview: Tielemans and Teodorczyk stand in the way of United in Belgium

Anderlecht -v- Manchester United

Constant Vanden Stock Stadium, Anderlecht, Brussels

UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Thursday 13th April 2017; KO 20:05 BST

Live on BT Sport 2HD

Manchester United travel to Belgium to face Anderlecht in the UEFA Europa league quarter-final first leg on Thursday evening. United are in good form at this moment in time, avoiding defeat in 21 Premier League matches this season, last being defeated by Chelsea in October. In other competitions, Chelsea again knocked United out of the Emirates FA Cup, with a defeat in the EFL Cup second leg against Hull City, before that, two defeats in the Europa League group stage to both Feyenoord and Fenerbahce – both of those away from home. United have lost just seven times in all competitions this season, which is not bad going, but in the league, the main thing hampering them this season is the inability to win, with twelve draws in total, nine of those at Old Trafford. Anderlecht will be the team to beat for United, a team in good form both domestically and on the European stage. René Weiler’s side sits two points clear at the top of the Belgian First Division ahead of Club Brugge, the team United beat, twice, in the UEFA Champions League play-off last season.

There are two players for United to keep their eyes on against Anderlecht; Łukasz Teodorczyk and Youri Tielemans. Between them, they have scored 46 goals in all competitions this season, but there is a chance the Polish international may not play due to recovering from a shoulder injury sustained this weekend. Tielemans, though, will be a player to keep a check on as he is one of the promising young players coming out of Belgium currently. United have their own promising players to utilise, though, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Marcus Rashford et al looking to be involved in the match which could put United just 90 minutes away from a semi-final place in Europe’s secondary competition, which could keep them in with a chance of earning a UEFA Champions League place next season – which still offers them two chances – both of which need to be taken. Jose Mourinho will play a strong side, being that this is a major chance for United. That seems to have been the case over the last few matches, with play rotation key, especially with a tough match against Chelsea at Old Trafford coming on Sunday afternoon, one United should want to win.

Match Officials: Has Felix Brych been involved in Manchester United matches before?

Felix Brych has been named as the referee for the match at the Constant Vanden Stock Stadium on Thursday evening. Brych is an experienced German referee and has been involved in four matches in which Manchester United have played, all being in the UEFA Champions League; the 0-0 draw against Olympique Marseille in 2011, the 2-0 victory over Oţelul Galaţi in 2011 in which Nemanja Vidic was sent off, the 3-0 victory over Sporting Braga in 2012 and the 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in 2013. The assistant referees have been named as Mark Borsch and Stefan Lupp. The fourth official will be Rafael Foltyn and the additional assistant referees will be Bastian Dankert and Marco Fritz.

Form: Two teams in good form will be the main ingredients for a good match?

Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s side are in good form at this stage of the season, winning three and drawing two of their last five matches. United are unbeaten in 21 matches in the Premier League this season – losing three games in the league in total. Four other matches have been lost – two in the group stages of the Europa League, one in the EFL Cup and one in the Emirates FA Cup. United were boosted by Arsenal’s inability to win matches with a 3-0 defeat to Crystal Palace on Monday evening, keeping United three points clear of them in the league, putting some daylight in the race to the top four this season. United will need to beat Chelsea on Sunday in order to keep that distance between them and Arsenal, which needs to be done.

Anderlecht: René Weiler’s side are top of the Belgian First Division, two points clear of Club Brugge. Anderlecht has had a good season, seeing the likes of Teodorczyk and Tielemans score 46 goals between them, which could thwart United on Thursday evening, especially with the Belgian side not being scared of them. Anderlecht have lost eight matches in total this season, one of those was against Rostov, United’s Russian opposition in the last round of the Europa League – this was in the Champions League qualification round with the Belgian side drawing the first leg and losing the second. Weiler’s side will be looking to continue their success this season, and keeping a clean sheet at home could be key to that.

The road to the Quarter-Finals of the UEFA Europa League:

Manchester United: Jose Mourinho’s side entered the group stages of the Europa League this season, pitted against Feyenoord, Zorya Luhansk and Fenerbahce. In the first group stage match, United were beaten 1-0 away to Feyenoord. A 1-0 victory over Zorya in the second match put United on winning ways. In the third match, a 4-1 home victory over Fenerbahce helped United efforts in the competition. The fourth match saw United defeated 2-1 in the reverse fixture. A 4-0 victory over Feyenoord put United in the driving seat to make it to the knockout stages, which was secured by a 2-0 victory over Zorya. In the round fo 32, United beat Saint-Etienne 4-0 on aggregate, earning a round of 16 tie with Rostov, winning 2-1 on aggregate. Drawing Anderlecht in the quarter-finals would be a tough tie for Jose Mourinho’s side.

Anderlecht: The Belgian side entered the play-off of the Europa League, after exiting the same stage of the Champions League at the hands of Rostov. The beat Slavia Praha 6-0 on aggregate. In the group stages, Anderlecht were pitted against Saint-Etienne, Mainz 05 and Gabala. The Belgian side beat Gabala 3-1 in their opening group match, then drew 1-1 with Saint-Etienne. In their third match, another 1-1 draw, this time against Mainz. In their fourth match, a 6-1 victory over Mainz helped them on their way to the knockout stages The fifth match resulted in a 3-1 victory over Gabala and the final group stage match, a 3-2 defeat to Saint-Etienne, who topped the group. In the round of 32, Anderlecht beat Zenit St Petersburg on away goals after a 3-3 aggregate victory. In the round of 16, a 2-0 aggregate victory over APOEL saw them face United in the quarter-finals.

Who are the top scorers at both Manchester United and Anderlecht this season?

Manchester United: 28 – Zlatan Ibrahimović, 10 – Juan Mata, 8 – Henrikh Mkhitaryan, Marcus Rashford, 7 – Anthony Martial, Paul Pogba, 5 – Jesse Lingard, Wayne Rooney, 3 – Marouane Fellaini, 2 – Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling, 1 – Daley Blind, Own Goal, Ander Herrera, Marcos Rojo, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Antonio Valencia

Anderlecht: 28 – Łukasz Teodorczyk, 18 – Youri Tielemans, 10 – Sofiane Hanni, 8 – Nicolae Stanciu, 5 – Frank Acheampong, Massimo Bruno, Alexandru Chipciu, 3 – Leander Dendoncker, Kara Mbodji, Idrissa Sylla, 2 – Diego Capel, Hamdi Harbaoui, Uroš Spajić, 1 – Steven Defour, Michaël Heylen, Bram Nuytinck, Ivan Obradović, Isaac Kiese Thelin

Team News: Antonio Valencia to return for resurgent Red Devils?

Antonio Valencia could make his return to the starting XI after sitting out the last two matches, not down to injury. The Ecuadorian is one of the players of the season and was due a rest, especially with some big matches coming up for the Red Devils. David De Gea has a hip problem, which is not a big deal according to Mourinho, but Sergio Romero may retain his position in the team which heads to Belgium. United will be without Chris Smalling, Phil Jones and Juan Mata through long-term injury and captain Wayne Rooney could remain out of the squad through injury too. Andy Nájar is out of action for the hosts, as could top scorer Łukasz Teodorczyk who seemed to suffer a shoulder injury at the weekend. More will be known after Wednesday evening’s press conference after the team have arrived in Belgium.

Previous Meetings: A 10-0 thrashing of Anderlecht back in 1956 and two away defeats

Manchester United and Anderlecht have met six times in the history of both clubs dating between the 12th September 1956 and Thursday night’s match. The most recent match dates back to the 24th October 2000, which saw United defeated 2-1 in Belgium. In total, United have won four matches, losing twice. United still hold a club record today for the biggest victory, which was against Anderlecht in the game played on the 26th September 1956, a fortnight after the first match between the two clubs, with United winning 10-0 in a match due to be played at Old Trafford, but a floodlight failure moved the game to Manchester City’s former home, Maine Road. Dennis Viollet scored four in that match, Tommy Taylor scored a hat-trick, Liam Whelan scored a brace and Johnny Berry scored once. It was, of course, just under 17 months before that fateful day in Munich saw those Busby Babes end their days as one of the most exciting teams in English football history. United have won every home match against Anderlecht but their away form against the Belgian side is questionable, losing two of three away matches played – both the recent ones.

Starting XI Prediction: Who is going to start against Anderlecht?

Predicted Score:

Anderlecht 1-1 Manchester United

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