Manchester United open their UEFA Europa League season against FC Astana at Old Trafford on this evening. The Kazakhstani side will endure a 6,000 mile round trip for the match, which United will do themselves later this year. United will have some confidence after beating Leicester City this weekend, sitting in the Premier League top four.
Roman Hryhorchuk’s side is nearing the end of their season, other than playing in the Europa League until December, which might become problematic for them. The reigning Kazakhstani champions currently sit in third place in the Premier League, five points adrift of leaders Tobol who have played two matches more. Retaining their title is still possible.
This month will see United compete in three competitions; the Premier League, the Europa League and the Carabao Cup. Just three days after this match, United will travel to face West Ham United, then three days later, welcome Rochdale to Old Trafford in the League Cup, ending the month five days later at home to Arsenal – the second big match this season.
Dalot, Tuanzebe, Jones, Rojo;
Greenwood, Gomes, Chong;
Grant; Maguire, Young; Mata, Lingard, Garner, McTominay
Rukavina, Postnikov, Tomašević, Shomko;
Tomasov, Maevski, Šimunović, Sigurjónsson;
Mokin; Beisebekov, Logvinenko; Muzhikov, Pertsukh; Mubele, Janga
United and Astana have never met in the history of both clubs. This will be the first time and some rather unknown territory for United. In the Europa League, United won the competition in the 2016/17 season, winning ten times, drawing three times and losing twice. They first played in the rebranded UEFA Cup in the 2011/12 season, playing for times, winning once and losing three times.