Preview: Manchester United to find momentum to propel them through November?


Şükrü Saracoğlu Stadium, Istanbul, Turkey

UEFA Europa League 2016/17

Saturday 29th October 2016 – KO 15:00

Referee: Milorad Mažić (SRB)

Assistant Referees: Milovan Ristić (SRB) and Dalibor Djurdjević (SRB)

Additional Assistant Referees: Danilo Grujić (SRB) and Nenad Djokić (SRB)

Fourth Official: Nemanja Petrović (SRB)

Manchester United travel to Istanbul to face Fenerbahçe for the second time in a fortnight in the group stages of the UEFA Europa League. United beat the Turkish side 4-1 at Old Trafford a fortnight ago with Paul Pogba scoring a brace, including one from the penalty spot, Anthony Martial also scored from the spot and Jesse Lingard completed the scoring. Robin van Persie, given a rapturous welcome to his former club, also found the back of the net, with a loud celebration from the home support. United had won their second match in the secondary European competition this season, which saw them rise to second in the group, level on points with Feyenoord, the only team to beat them in this competition this season. A victory over Fenerbahçe again will boost the Old Trafford side, who face Feyenoord at Old Trafford on the 24th November. If Feyenoord fail to win against Zorya Luhansk this evening, and United win in Istanbul, they will top the group, meaning the group will be winnable against the Dutch side at the end of the month. Then, United will be able to give the younger players a run out in the final match away to Zorya Luhansk in the Ukraine in early December, meaning they will be through to the knockout stages whatever the result, should Jose Mourinho want to do this, of course.

In the Premier League, Manchester United have not won a match for over a month, beating Leicester City 4-1 at Old Trafford in late September, however, they have only been beaten once, a 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. United have drawn 1-1 with Stoke City, 0-0 with Liverpool and 0-0 with Burnley this weekend. The only other victory, other than the 4-1 victory over Fenerbahçe was a 1-0 win over local rivals Manchester City in the EFL Cup, which sees United go head to head with West Ham United later this month at Old Trafford, three days after playing the club in the Premier League at home. November is a tough month for United, but based on the way they played against Burnley, the matches are winnable. United travel to Swansea on Sunday to face Bob Bradley’s fallen side, who were defeated by Stoke City 3-1 on Monday evening, meaning they are in a bad place currently, which should see United take advantage of the side who in recent years have been a problem for United, beating them two out of three times at Old Trafford since Sir Alex Ferguson retired.

United have a chance to put themselves into some good form with their upcoming matches, providing they maintain momentum take their challenge to the other team, not putting a foot wrong in the matches, keeping their heads and attacking, which seems to be the best form of defence. Arsenal could well be a problem with them being in good form, but as last night showed, their defence is still a problem as Ludogorets managed to score twice in the opening 15 minutes of the match. Arsenal did find some inspiration though, winning the match 3-2, but it just shows they are a long way from that ‘invincbles’ side they were over a decade ago. Jose Mourinho has a few problems with injuries right now, especially with Eric Bailly, who suffered a serious knee injury against Chelsea. Marcos Rojo though has fit in well with the side, playing much better as a central defender, who will probably partner Daley Blind against the Turkish side. Phil Jones is back from his latest injury, which may not mean much, but there is still some depth in the defence, even with Chris Smalling missing out yet again.

Manchester United Form:- DWLWD

Burnley 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Chelsea 4-0 L, Fenerbahçe 4-1 W, Liverpool 0-0 D

Manchester United are still having a mixed season. Criticism still seems to be rife wherever you look, but some just cannot see the improvements Jose Mourinho has made to Manchester United this season. The draw against Burley will show you how well United have been playing. 37 shots on goal, which just shows how creative United have been recently. That sort of thing was not seen under Louis van Gaal last season, in fact, I think United had more shots in one match than they did, on average at least, for half of the first ten matches in the league last season. Patience is needed. Many supporters don’t seem to have that, moaning at the slightest thing. It seems that sacking the manager is a popular moan after a draw or a defeat, yet when United win, you see nothing of the sort. Fickle much?

Fenerbahçe Form:- WWLDD

Kardemir Karabükspor 5-0 W, Konyaspor 1-0 W, Manchester United 4-1 L, Alanyaspor 1-1 D, Osmanlıspor 1-1 D

Since being beaten 4-1 by Manchester United a fortnight ago, Fenerbahçe have turned around their form in their native Turkey. On their visit to the Theatre of Dreams, Dick Advocaat’s side were ninth in the league, but by winning their last two matches, scoring six goals in total, Fenerbahçe have risen to fifth in the league, now eight points behind league leaders İstanbul Başakşehir. Robin van Persie only had one goal this season before arriving at his former club, scoring in the dying minutes to the applause of the Old Trafford faithful. He recently scored twice, once from the spot in the 5-0 victory over Kardemir Karabükspor. This match may be difficult for United, who managed to beat the Turkish side without really getting out of their first gear.

Manchester United Top Scorers:

6 – Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 4 – Marcus Rashford, 3 – Juan Mata, Paul Pogba, 2 – Jesse Lingard, Anthony Martial, 1 – Michael Carrick, Ander Herrera, Wayne Rooney, Chris Smalling

Fenerbahçe Top Scorers:

7 – Emmanuel Emenike, 4 – Robin van Persie, 3 – Miroslav Stoch, 2 – Aatif Chahechouhe, Josef de Souza, Ozan Tufan, Simon Kjær, 1 – Fernandão, İsmail Köybaşı, Jeremain Lens, Alper Potuk, Mehmet Topal, Martin Škrtel, Moussa Sow

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: Eric Bailly (knee), Chris Smalling (knock)

Fenerbahçe Squad:

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:

At this moment in time, Manchester United need to find that winning formula to get the results they need. Zlatan Ibrahimovic seems to be out of form currently, possible in need of a rest, so with that in mind, letting Marcus Rashford lead the line might be the better with the 19-year-old not fitting in when playing on the wing, but it is a position he wanted to play in to become that top striker, which is what he aims to be. Henrikh Mkhitaryan could well get some minutes on the pitch away from the pressure of the Premier League, which would benefit him more than dropping him in at the deep end against Swansea City on Sunday. Anthony Martial would suit the left-wing in my opinion, with Juan Mata playing his favoured number ten role, something he has been doing well recently, even playing a wider role. He is the most consistent creative player this season, and should be rewarded for that. A midfield pairing of Paul Pogba and Ander Herrera could be good, for the first hour at least, with Morgan Schneiderlin coming on later in the match to do a job, after United have got the goals they need to win the match. In defence, Matteo Darmian, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo and Luke Shaw should do the job, with David De Gea retaining his place in the starting XI once again.

Predicted Score:

Fenerbahçe 1-3 Manchester United

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copyright: JW

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