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Scouting the UEFA Europe League finalists: Manchester United

Manchester United are the more well-known and supported of the two sides set to face off in Stockholm but slid through less convincingly than their opponents. An unconvincing Premier League season means that this Europa League final carries importance beyond silverware. In order to return to Europe’s premier competition next season, they must defeat Ajax. Can they do it? They have the talent, but do they have the right mentality and strategy?

How does Manchester United play?

It varies depending on the stakes and the opposition. Usually, they establish a firmer defensive shell and play more within their own half against the big clubs and in high stakes game. The formation of choice is 4-2-3-1, with a 4-3-3 sometimes utilised. When attacking, Manchester United will commit a reasonable amount forward but rely a fair bit on set pieces and counter attacks.

Where are Manchester United most dangerous?

All of Manchester United’s forwards and attack-minded midfielders are more than capable of providing problems for the opposition. Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial are very skilled players for their age and more often than not make the right decision that allows them to create and put away dangerous opportunities.

Where are Manchester United’s weaknesses?

Center Back is their most vulnerable spot due to a number of injury problems they’ve had throughout the season. In addition, Eric Bailly will miss the final due to the red card he earned at the end of the second leg match against Celta Vigo. Chris Smalling, who can be inconsistent sometimes, and young Axel Tuanzebe look to be the likely starters. Tuanzebe has impressed when involved this season, but Bertrand Traore and Kasper Dolberg will be a tough test for him.

Who is Manchester United’s star player?

It’s hard to argue any other Manchester United player has had a better Europa League campaign this season than Henrikh Mkhitaryan. He’s scored a few crucial goals on the Red Devils’ path to Europe, and there is no doubt he will start this match. A solid performance and perhaps a goal from him could be the difference.

Who is Manchester United’s  playmaker?

Ander Herrera does it all for Manchester United in the midfield. Offense or defense, Herrera has had a great season and will be looking to continue it in this match. He isn’t leaps and bounds better than Ajax’s midfielders such as Davy Klaassen, but if Herrera can replicate his performance from the Chelsea match in the Premier League, he can power his side to victory.

What is dependent on Manchester United winning?

The defense needs to be sharp against Ajax’s potent and energetic attack, but they cannot sit too deep. Also, Manchester United cannot play 80 of the 90 minutes in their own have and expect to win. A complete 180 from the horrid performance against Celta Vigo in Old Trafford will be needed to quell a much better and more talented side in Stockholm. Also, Mourinho must make substitutions earlier if United are level or behind 55 minutes into the match. The Special One must get it right and his players must step up for United to lift the trophy.

Written by Ivan Ornelas

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