Preview: McTominay to get his chance in midfield? Antony & Rashford on the wings? Pellistri to get his chance too?

Real Betis -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

Estadio Benito Villamarín, Seville

Thursday 16 March 2023, KO 17:45 GMT

Manchester United travel to Seville in Spain to take on Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 second leg on Thursday evening. United beat Betis 4-1 in the first leg at Old Trafford with goals from Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst scoring the goals. Erik ten Hag’s side bounced back well following the defeat to Liverpool in the Premier League five days previously. United have a good chance in the Europa League.

Betis have not had a win since they beat Elche 3-2, earning a 0-0 draw against Real Madrid, losing to United and more recently a 1-1 draw against Villarreal. That said, United drew 0-0 with the Premier League’s bottom club – Southampton on Sunday which saw Casemiro sent off and suspended for the next four domestic matches and Alejandro Garnacho receive an ankle injury, which will keep him out of action for the foreseeable future – two big blows for United.

United have two matches left before the first international break of 2023 with this visit to Seville to face Betis and a visit of Fulham to Old Trafford in the quarter final of the Emirates FA Cup on Sunday – which will be the first match Casemiro will miss, along with the Premier League fixtures against Newcastle United (A), Brentford (H) and Everton (H). At least he will be rested for the end of the season – which looks set to be just as busy as it is now.

Manchester United – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Southampton 0-0 D, Real Betis 4-1 W, Liverpool 7-0 L, West Ham United 3-1 W, Newcastle United 2-0 W, Barcelona 2-1 W

Goals: 26 – Marcus Rashford, 8 – Bruno Fernandes, 7 – Antony, 6 – Fred, Anthony Martial, 5 – Casemiro, Own Goal, Jadon Sancho, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Cristiano Ronaldo, 2 – Christian Eriksen, Scott McTominay, Wout Weghorst, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw

Assists: 10 – Bruno Fernandes, 9 – Christian Eriksen, 7 – Marcus Rashford, 6 – Luke Shaw, 5 – Casemiro, 4 – Alejandro Garnacho, 3 – Fred, Wout Weghorst, 2 – Diogo Dalot, Anthony Elanga, Anthony Martial, Cristiano Ronaldo, 1 – Antony, Scott McTominay, Facundo Pellistri, Jadon Sancho, Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Real Betis – Form, Goals Scored & Assists

Villarreal CF 1-1 D, Manchester United 4-1 L, Real Madrid 0-0 D, Elche CF 3-2 W, Real Valladolid 2-1 W, UD Almeria 3-2 W

Goals: 11 – Borja Iglesias, 6 – Sergio Canales, 4 – Nabil Fekir, Juanmi, 3 – Luiz Henrique, Willian José, 2 – William Carvalho, Rodri, Aitor Ruibal, 1 – Juan Cruz, Andrés Guardado, Joaquín, Juan Miranda, Ayoze Pérez, Guido Rodríguez

Assists: 4 – Borja Iglesias, 3 – Luiz Henrique, Juan Miranda, Álex Moreno, Rodri, 2 – Sergio Canales, Nabil Fekir, 1 – Andrés Guardado, Joaquín, Juanmi, Youssouf Sabaly

Previous Meetings & Connections

United and Betis have played one competitive fixture in there history of both clubs and that was played at Old Trafford last week with United winning 4-1 with goals from Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes and Wout Weghorst. The Spanish side scored through on loan Leicester City player Ayoze Pérez, but it was a mere consolation, which at the time it was scored, was the equaliser. United persevered, bouncing back from the humiliating defeat to Liverpool.

United face Betis in a friendly during the FIFA World Cup, playing at the Estadio Benito Villamarín and losing 1-0 with Nabil Fekir scoring the only goal of the match. David De Gea, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Victor Lindelof, Scott McTominay and Anthony Martial were the only experienced players to have started that match with Martin Dubravka and Donny van de Beek as the only experienced players on the bench. United will be confident of winning in Seville this time.

United and Betis have no players who have played for both clubs. That may change at some point in the future though. United have a three goal cushion to take to Seville on Thursday and as long as they score, they have a great chance of reaching the quarter final of the UEFA Europa League this season with the draw for that happening on Friday afternoon. United have a good chance of winning another trophy this season with the Emirates FA Cup also still open – at this time.

Team News

Donny van de Beek (knee), Christian Eriksen (ankle) and Alejandro Garnacho (ankle) have all been ruled out of the clash with Betis on Thursday evening due to injury. Anthony Martial (hip), Marcel Sabitzer (knock) and Victor Lindelof (illness) all have 25% chances of featuring for United on Thursday with Lindelof the most likely play to have some involvement at this time. Casemiro will be suspended for the next four domestic fixtures – but can play in this one.

United’s injury problems at this stage of the season could be good for the likes of Facundo Pellistri, Kobbie Mainoo, Zidane Iqbal and Anthony Elanga, who have all featured sparingly for United this season. Scott McTominay could also be a winner here, especially during the four domestic matches that Casemiro will be suspended for. The Scotland international could feature with Sabitzer and Fred in the midfield until Casemiro and Eriksen are both back in action.

Nabil Fekir (knee), Luiz Felipe (hamstring) and Juan Cruz (muscular) are all ruled out of the clash with United at the Estadio Benito Villamarín due to injury. Paul Akoujou and Martin Montoya are both ineligible to feature for the club in the UEFA Europa League. Sergio Canales started for the first time since his injury at the weekend, so he could be back to face United. Rui Silva started on Sunday but Claudio Bravo has been the preferred goalkeeper in the Europa League.

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

De Gea;

Dalot, Varane, Martinez, Shaw;

Casemiro, McTominay;

Antony, Fernandes, Rashford;

Weghorst

Predicted Real Betis Starting XI – 4-2-3-1

Bravo;

Ruibal, Pezzella, Ruiz, Miranda;

Guardado, Rodriguez;

Canales, Perez, Sanchez;

Iglesias

Match Prediction

United winning 4-1 at Old Trafford has them in the driving seat in this fixture ahead of the second leg. However, if United struggle like they did against Southampton on Sunday and against Liverpool the previous weekend, it could be a good night in Spain for Betis. That said, this United side know what they are capable of and they will need to enforce that in this match. If United score one goal, on paper this clash would be all over with a four goal lead on aggregate.

That said, it will be more difficult for United to get that at this time with not of the clubs forwards looking like scoring a goal in the last match. United will need to get the best of their attacking players just so they can try and end the tie as soon as possible. That will involve utilising the players on the bench too. I think Ten Hag will start a strong team but in the second half, he will utilise the five substitutions he has and leg the fringe players have a shot at earning something.

I think United will prevail in this match and earn a place in the UEFA Europa League quarter final, of which the draw that that stage, the semi final and the final will be conducted on Friday afternoon. United find themselves in a good position this season, sitting third in the Premier League, already lifting the Carabao Cup and in the quarter finals of the Emirates FA Cup. To reach the quarter finals in the Europa League would continue a positive season for United.

Real Betis 0-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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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.