Preview: Getting three points in the bag is necessary against Sheriff; United need the win

Ten Hag's team have not played for a week which could be both good and bad for United

FC Sheriff Tiraspol -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

Zimbru Stadium, Chisinau

Thursday 15 September 2022, KO 17:45 BST

Manchester United will face FC Sheriff Tiraspol at the Zimbru Stadium on Chisinau, Moldova on Thursday in their second group stage match in the UEFA Europa League. In United’s last match, which was played on the day Queen Elizabeth II died, they lost 1-0.

Erik ten Hag’s team will be seeking their first points in the Europa League this season, needing a win to make it easier to get out of the group. United have not played since last Thursday after their clash with Crystal Palace was postponed on Sunday.

It will also be United’s last match before the first international break of the season as the clash against Leeds United at Old Trafford has also been postponed because of a shortage of policing in Manchester the day before the state funeral of Queen Elizabeth II in London.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Real Sociedad 1-0 L, Arsenal 3-1 W, Leicester City 1-0 W, Southampton 1-0 W, Liverpool 2-1 W, Brentford 4-0 L

Goals: 3 – Marcus Rashford, 2 – Jadon Sancho, 1 – Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Own Goal

Assists: 2 – Marcus Rashford, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Christian Eriksen, Bruno Fernandes, Anthony Martial

FC Sheriff Tiraspol – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Milsami 2-0 W, Omonia Nicosia 3-0 W, Dacia-Buiucani 2-0 W, Petrocub 1-1 D, Pyunik 0-0 (3-2 pens) W, CSF Balti 3-0 W

Goals: 5 – Rasheed Akanbi, 3 – Iyayi Atiemwen, Steve Ambri, 2 – Mouhamed Diop, 1 – Giannis-Fivos Botos, Keston Julien, Gaby Kiki, Abou Ouattara, Pernambuco, Kay Tejan, Momo Yansane

Assists: 2 – Rasheed Akanbi, Cedric Badolo, Regi Lushkja, Abou Ouattara, 1 – Iyayi Atiemwen, Steve Ambri, Renan Guedes, Maksym Koval, Charles Petro

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Sheriff have not met in any competition ahead of this season so it will be an unknown for both teams. However, Sheriff did beat Real Madrid in the group stages of the UEFA Champions League last season, which would have been a shock for the eventual winners.

This will also be the first time that United have gone head to head with a team from Moldova. Tottenham Hotspur have faced Moldovan opposition back in the 1999/2000 season when they faced Zimbru Chisinau in the UEFA Cup and Sheriff in the Europa League in the 2013/14 season.

It could well be one of those matches where both teams, entering the unknown, find weaknesses and focus on that to get what they need. Sheriff are not a bad team and have proven that they are undaunted by the bigger teams that they face. That is what football is about at the end of the day.

Team News

Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams, Anthony Martial and Facundo Pellistri seem to be ruled out of the clash with Sheriff on Thursday evening with Donny van de Beek having a 25% chance of making the match and Luke Shaw having a 50% chance of featuring.

With United’s Premier League match against Crystal Palace postponed on Sunday following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, plus the clash with Leeds United postponed this coming Sunday, United will not need to rest players ahead of this match.

Sheriff have no real worries ahead of the visit of United on Thursday with their team in good form this season. They beat Omonia Nicosia 3-0 last week in the UEFA Europa League, also beating Milsami 2-0 this weekend in the Moldovan top flight.

Predicted Manchester United Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Malacia;

Casemiro, Eriksen;

Antony, Fernandes, Sancho;

Ronaldo

Predicted FC Sheriff Tiraspol Starting XI – 4-3-3

Koval;

Guedes, Kiki, Radeljic, Kpozo;

Badolo, Kyabou, Diop;

Ouattara, Atiemwen, Akanbi

Match Prediction

This is going to be an unknown for United who have not met Sheriff before in any competition. Having not faced ant Moldovan team either, this could well be one of those matches that will open United to playing against a new team and in a new country.

Granted, with the problems in the Transnistria region of the country, the match will be played at a different stadium that Sheriff would play at home, but that is not really a big deal for the Moldovan side, or United. Or at least it should not be.

The one problem is that United have not played in a week and will not play again after this match until they travel to face Manchester City after the first international break of the season on Sunday 2 October 2022. It is a shame that is the case and United will have a fixture blockage at some point.

FC Sheriff Tiraspol 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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About John Walker 1766 Articles
I support Manchester United, the greatest English football team to have ever existed. Bruno Fernandes is the latest in a long line of players with great ability to play for the club. I idolised Bryan Robson, David Beckham, Paul Scholes, and Eric Cantona growing up.