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Review & Ratings: Five star United punish LASK; Ighalo, James, Mata, Greenwood and Pereira score, Fernandes key to starting the attacks

Manchester United beat LASK 5-0 at the Linzer Stadion in Linz, Austria in the UEFA Europa League round of 16 first leg. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking a relatively easy passage into the quarter finals of the competition this season with his team scoring three away goals in this match. Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, Juan Mata, Mason Greenwood and Andreas Pereira provided for United with Bruno Fernandes, Ighalo, Fred (twice) and Tahith Chong assisting the goals. United face Tottenham Hotspur in the Premier League on Sunday.

United started well against LASK, pushing to get an opening goal from the start of the game. The Austrian side pressured United at times, United ending the first half ahead in the game with 60% possession, 84% passing accuracy, 11 attempts on goal; four on target, six off target, and one blocked. Odion Ighalo scored his fourth goal of the season for United in the 28th minute after Bruno Fernandes made a driving run into the area, chipping the ball over to the Nigerian before hitting the back of the net.

United continued to pressure the Austrian’s in the second half of the match, doubling their lead just before the hour mark with Daniel James ending his goal drought, assisted by Ighalo, scoring his fourth goal of the season for the club. Ighalo played the Welshman through from midfield, with him running solo into the box, getting around a defender before thundering his shot into the bottom corner of the goal. He uttered a huge roar after that goal, seemingly show his frustration not to score sooner.

Solskjaer made his first substitution at 2-0 up with Tahith Chong, who this week signed a new contract, replacing the Welshman, who scored his first goal for the club since the 31 August 2019. It may have been touch and go with Eric Bailly, who seemed to suffer an injury late in the second half, however, after a few minutes he was alright to play on. Andreas Pereira Replaced Fernandes in the 78th minute of the match. United continued to get the better of their opposition in the match.

United scored a third goal in the game, through Juan Mata, who was unlucky in the first half. Fred had the ball in midfield, slotting it forward to Mata who was up front seeking to attack. The Spaniard made it look easy as he slotted past the LASK goalkeeper to put United well ahead in the game. United will probably be able to field a much younger team in the second leg at Old Trafford next week, should the game not be postponed because of the Coronavirus which has postponed many leagues across the world already.

Solskjaer made his third and final substitute in the 82nd minute of the game with Mason Greenwood replacing Ighalo, who had scored the opening goal, assisting the second in the match, giving the manager a headache ahead of the trip to London to face Spurs on Sunday afternoon. United scored their fourth goal in the game, seemingly ending LASK’s time in the competition with Greenwood scoring his 12th goal of the season, assisted by Tahith Chong. What a game.

That was not it though. Andreas Pereira scored a fifth goal on the night, assisted by Fred, who got his second assist of the match. United have literally blown away their opposition in this game, not allowing them a shot on target, despite their good run in the competition and their domestic league this season. United seem in a good position to reach the quarter finals of the competition with Solskjaer seeking Champions League football, which is looking on target so far this season.

Manchester United

Review & Ratings: Five star United punish LASK; Ighalo, James, Mata, Greenwood and Pereira score, Fernandes key to starting the attacks

Another clean sheet for the Argentinian - his 11th of the season. LASK did not have a shot on target with United not needing to do much heavy defending, which has not been the case in recent matches, against City especially in the second half.

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33 Brandon Williams

Started at right-back against LASK and help his position well. The fact LASK did not have a shot on target throughout the entire match will be telling, but at 2-0 down, their heads went down and United showed their strength.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian defender had little to do against the Austrian side in this match. United seemed to push them aside relatively easily, even with a much-changed lineup. Bailly seemed to suffer an injury late in the second half, recovering from it minutes later, which was great to see considering his injury record at the club.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain played well, playing 90 minutes against the Austrian side. That might not need to be the case next week with the deficit between the two teams after this match. He will be relishing a showdown with Spurs on Sunday, providing the Premier League does not get suspended, like many other world leagues have iover the last day or so.

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23 Luke Shaw

The left-back was (harshly) booked in the first half of the game with United leading 1-0 at the time. He got forward for much of the game, helping to set the bar for United, which is something they did well, scoring five away goals on the night, possibly winning the round in one match.

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17 Fred

The Brazilian got himself two assists against LASK, providing for both Mata and Pereira with United scoring three goals in the last eight minutes or so. It was a good game for the Brazilian midfielder and his teammates. Fred has two goals and four assists this season so far, which is an improvement on his debut season.

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39 Scott McTominay

The Scottish midfielder player well against LASK, helping his team push their opposition aside, with United scoring five goals on the night. McTominay did not score or assist but he has a part to play in the match.

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8 Juan Mata

The veteran attacking midfielder added something to United attacking outlet against LASK but missed an early chance to get on the scoresheet. His footballing brain is an asset for United and his interplay with Fernandes was good to see at times. United seem to be a much better team at this moment in time. He got his goal in the 82nd minute of the game, assisted by Fred, seemingly ending the tie for LASK.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese magnifico has been a stand out performer at the club over the last nine matches; his desire on and off the ball is something that will bring out the best of his teammates. Fernandes started well and got himself another assist for Ighalo's opening goal in the 28th minute of the match. Fernandes was replaced by Pereira in the 78th minute of the match, keeping hims fresh for the Spurs game on Sunday.

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Review & Ratings: Five star United punish LASK; Ighalo, James, Mata, Greenwood and Pereira score, Fernandes key to starting the attacks

The Welsh winger was playing with lots of confidence against the Austrian side, as he had in recent matches, especially against City. He ended his goal drought in the 58th minute of the match, assisted by Ighalo, scoring his fourth goal of the season. James was replaced in the 71st minute of the match by Chong, presumably keeping him fresh for Sunday's match against Spurs.

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Review & Ratings: Five star United punish LASK; Ighalo, James, Mata, Greenwood and Pereira score, Fernandes key to starting the attacks

The Nigerian scored his fourth goal for United against LASK, linking up with with Fernandes, who was the provider, having three touches of the ball before hitting the back of the net to put United ahead in the 28th minute of the match. In the second half, he got his first assist for the club, helping James double United's lead in the match.

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Substitutes

44 Tahith Chong

Replaced James 71'. The Dutchman got his second assist in the competition this season, providing for Greenwood in added time. This came during the same week he signed a new contract at the club with Solskjaer suggesting he is rated by him and his coaches and will play a part in the future of the club.

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15 Andreas Pereira

Replaced Fernandes 78'. He might not be a popular player in the team but when he plays, he does give his all for the club. He can play a part, as long as he knows where is a big void between him and the likes of Fernandes, Pogba etc. Got himself on the score sheet as United scored twice in added time, winning 5-0 on the evening with the home leg to play.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced Ighalo 85'. The teenager scored his 12th goal of the season, scoring the fourth against LASK in Austria. What a season ir has been for the young lad, who will be onto bigger and better things with the club soon. United have some great attacking talent in this team, which will cause (good) headaches for the manager and coaches in the future.

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Goals: Odion Ighalo 28′, Daniel James 58′, Juan Mata 82′, Mason Greenwood 90+1′, Andreas Pereira 90+3′

Assists: Bruno Fernandes 28′, Odion Ighalo 58′, Fred 82′, 90+3′, Tahith Chong 90+1′

Manchester United: Romero; Williams, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, McTominay; Mata, Fernandes (Pereira 78′), James (Chong 71′); Ighalo (Greenwood 85′)

Substitutes Not Used: De Gea; Lindelof, Tuanzebe; Matic

Bookings: Gernot Trauner 33′, Klauss 38′, Christian Ramsebner 59′, Dominik Reiter 89′; Luke Shaw 47′

Confirmed Starting XI: Ighalo leads the line against LASK; Fernandes, Mata and James in support – Bailly and Maguire defensive partnership

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action this evening when they face LASK at the Linzer Stadion in Linz, Austria. The match will be played behind closed doors because of the fears surrounding Coronavirus and the spread which has seen the whole of Italy placed on lockdown in the past 24 hours. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bet a foot into the quarter finals of the competition.

United are on a ten match unbeaten run, scoring 24 goals, conceding two and keeping eight clean sheets. In the Europa League, United are on a good run, playing eight times this season, winning five times, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 16 goals, conceding three and keeping six clean sheets. This sort of form could see United progress into the quarter finals of the competition this season.

LASK, however, also have a good run of form in the competition, playing eight times, winning fives, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 14 goals, conceding five and keeping four clean sheets. United have scored more goals and conceded fewer, which could set them aside from the Austrian team in this round of matches. Granted, they will be seeking to score away from home, sealing the tie at the Theatre of Dreams.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Williams, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

Fred, McTominay;

Mata, Fernandes, James;

Ighalo

Substitutes:

De Gea; Lindelof, Tuanzebe; Pereira, Matic, Chong; Greenwood

LASK:

Schlager;

Ramsebner, Trauner, Ranftl;

Reiter, Holland, Michorl, Renner;

Tetteh, de Mello, Frieser

Substitutes:

Gebauer; Wostry; Balić, Müller, Haudum; Raguz, Sabitzer

United and LASK have never met before with the Austrian side not even playing another English team in European competition. United have played Austrian competition eight times in Europe, winning seven times and drawing once – the most recent matches were played in the 2000/01 season against Sturm Graz at a time where there was a second group stage in the elite European competition – the UEFA Champions League.

LASK started the season in the Champions League, albeit the third round of the qualification stage beating Basel 5-2 on aggregate but falling short with Club Brugge, losing 3-1 on aggregate, entering the Europa League. In the group stages, LASK topped the group winning all three home games in a group containing Sporting CP, PSV Eindhoven and Rosenborg. In the round of 32, LASK beat AZ Alkmaar 3-1 on aggregate.

How Manchester United could look against LASK; 4-3-1-2 with Ighalo and Greenwood up front and Fernandes in charge of creativity?

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening when they face LASK in Linz, Austria at the Linzer Stadion. The match will be played behind closed doors because of the fears surrounding Coronavirus and the spread which has seen the whole of Italy placed on lockdown in the past 24 hours. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bet a foot into the quarter finals of the competition.

United are on a ten match unbeaten run, scoring 24 goals, conceding two and keeping eight clean sheets. In the Europa League, United are on a good run, playing eight times this season, winning five times, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 16 goals, conceding three and keeping six clean sheets. This sort of form could see United progress into the quarter finals of the competition this season.

LASK, however, also have a good run of form in the competition, playing eight times, winning fives, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 14 goals, conceding five and keeping four clean sheets. United have scored more goals and conceded fewer, which could set them aside from the Austrian team in this round of matches. Granted, they will be seeking to score away from home, sealing the tie at the Theatre of Dreams.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face LASK in the UEFA Europa League at the Linzer Stadion on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper has kept ten clean sheets in 12 appearances for the club this season, which is a great statistic, especially for a goalkeeper who is the second choice in the squad. Sergio Romero has to be one of if not the best second choice goalkeeper in the country at this moment in time. David De Gea played a massive part in United’s 2-0 victory over Manchester City at the weekend and allowing him to be rested for this match could be crucial as United look to keep their run alive by pushing Tottenham Hotspur aside in the league. However, if United fail to win, or draw, this match, that run will be over and United could be back to the drawing board.

Defenders: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

United’s defence is in a rather strong position at this point of the season. In the last ten matches, they have conceded just two goals and after the start they had this season, it was looking to be one of those seasons similar to last in which United conceded more goals than they wanted to. The arrival of Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Harry Maguire in the summer has started to pay off as United look pretty strong at the back. The pair should keep their places in the four-man defence with Eric Bailly tasked with forming a partnership with the United captain with Luke Shaw keeping his place at left-back, a position he has played well in recently – which was possible aided by Brandon William’s form when he was given a place in the team earlier in the season, raising the bar in the position.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

The midfield has improved massively this season, especially Fred, who has stepped up his game and has shown continuing improvement throughout the season, after maybe being written off by the last manager of the club. Nemanja Matic has stepped up recently too and you can see the new-found confidence at the club, especially after the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, who has raised the bar in the midfield, and chance creation, which was needed at the club. Scott McTominay was a big miss for a large spell of the season but since his return, he has stepped up his game and did not seem all that rusty after his time on the sidelines. Solskjaer will be happy to see this midfield look stronger without much tweaking.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder faces LASK back in October, scoring one goal in the 2-1 victory for Sporting. Since his arrival at United in January, he has raised the bar in the squad. So many players have stepped up their game and are now aiming to help spearhead United into the squad they could be as the ingredients were there long before his arrival. In his last eight appearances for the club, Fernandes has scored four goals and three assists which shows what having in the team, as opposed to not having him, has done. United seem a much more confident team with his in it and with Paul Pogba yet to come back in, the squad could be even better, as long as he brings his best, which has not been the case the majority of the time since the Frenchman returned to the club.

Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Mason Greenwood

United have a confidant strike force at this present time, even though Marcus Rashford is out of action with a back injury. Anthony Martial has done well, as has Odion Ighalo with his three goals since he made his debut for the club last month. Martial could be rested for this game, on the bench anyway, allowing his the time to get ready for the visit to Tottenham Hotspur, who will be wounded after being knocked out of the Champions League on Tuesday evening. Mason Greenwood could be given the nod to start this match, which would be good for his development and help him find his feet again after not scoring since the Watford match, however, he was an unused substitute in the last two matches.

Substitutes: Nathan Bishop; Tim Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Jesse Lingard; Anthony Martial

United will need to have options from the bench, if needed. Nathan Bishop could be involved for the first time with De Gea being rested with a view to Sunday’s match. Tim Fosu-Mensah, Axel Tuanzebe and Brandon Williams could be the defensive minded players to offer something in the game, should the need arise. In midfield, Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard could be involved with Anthony Martial the forward option should United find themselves needing a goal. Perhaps Solskjaer may see Tahith Chong as a player to be involved in the game, perhaps Angel Gomes, who has not played for the first team for a while. I guess we will see on Thursday.

Preview: United and LASK will play behind closed doors by Solskjaer will be seeking to keep his unbeaten run going

LASK -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

Linzer Stadion, Linz, Austria

Thursday 12 March 2020, KO 17:55 GMT

Referee: Artur Dias Assistants: Rui Tavares, Paulo Soares Fourth Official: Hugo Miguel

VAR: Tiago Martins Assistant VAR: Luis Godinho

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening when they face LASK in Linz, Austria at the Linzer Stadion. The match will be played behind closed doors because of the fears surrounding Coronavirus and the spread which has seen the whole of Italy placed on lockdown in the past 24 hours. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to bet a foot into the quarter finals of the competition.

United are on a ten match unbeaten run, scoring 24 goals, conceding two and keeping eight clean sheets. In the Europa League, United are on a good run, playing eight times this season, winning five times, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 16 goals, conceding three and keeping six clean sheets. This sort of form could see United progress into the quarter finals of the competition this season.

LASK, however, also have a good run of form in the competition, playing eight times, winning fives, drawing twice and losing once, scoring 14 goals, conceding five and keeping four clean sheets. United have scored more goals and conceded fewer, which could set them aside from the Austrian team in this round of matches. Granted, they will be seeking to score away from home, sealing the tie at the Theatre of Dreams.

Form: United unbeaten in their last ten matches, winning seven and drawing three times. In the last six matches, United have won four and draw twice. LASK has won four, drawn once and lost once.

Manchester United: WWDWWD

Manchester City 2-0 W, Derby County 3-0 W, Everton 1-1 D, Club Brugge 5-0 W, Watford 3-0 W, Club Brugge 1-1 D

LASK: WLWWWD

Mattersburg 1-0 W, Red Bull Salzburg 1-0 L, Hartberg 5-1 W, AZ Alkmaar 2-0 W, St Pölten 4-1 W, AZ Alkmaar 1-1 D

Top Scorers: United have scored 24 goals, conceding twice in their ten-match unbeaten run which has seen the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo score three goals each since signing the the club.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 16 – Anthony Martial, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 5 – Scott McTominay, 3 – Bruno Fernandes, Odion Ighalo, Daniel James, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United are in great form at this present time; having a ten match unbeaten run which has seen them win seven matches and draw three, scoring 24 goals and conceding just twice. Solskjaer will be seeking to get his team into the quarter final stage of the competition this season as they seek to keep both options of a Champions League place next season. United have a capable team with all players playing for the badge which is a great thing to see right now.

LASK Goals: 9 – Joao Klauss, 5 – Dominik Frieser, Thomas Goiginger, Samuel Tetteh, 4 – Marko Raguz, Reinhold Ranftl, 3 – Peter Michorl, 2 – Husein Balic, Petar Fiipović, James Holland, Gernot Trauner, 1 – Stefan Haudum, Valentino Müller, Marvin Potzmann, Christian Ramsebner, Philipp Wiesinger, Markus Wostry

LASK could be a problem for United based on the fact they have done well in the Europa League this season and have won, draw and lost the same number of matches as United in the competition this season. Bruno Fernandes played against the Austrian side back in October, scoring once goal in the 2-1 victory to the Portuguese side. Facing them again may be similar for the Portuguese midfielder who could inspire his new side to beat them again this season.

Team News: Rashford, Pogba, Grant and Fosu-Mensah to miss Austrian leg of Europa League match with LASK likely to have five players out of Thursday’s match?

United could be without four players for the trip to Austria on Thursday evening with Marcus Rashford (back), Paul Pogba (ankle), Lee Grant (wrist), and Tim Fosu-Mensah (lacking match fitness). Recently, United have been boosted by the arrival of Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo and the return of Scott McTominay and Eric Bailly from injury, which have all come at the right time for Solskjaer’s side.

LASK will be without Thomas Goiginger (knee), Marvin Potzmann (knee), Petar Filipović (suspended), Philipp Wiesinger (suspended) whereas Husein Balic (muscular) is a doubt for the match. This may not be good news for the Austrian side, who are looking to have a strong game against United to keep them in with a chance of reaching the quarter finals of the competition this season, which may not happen.

Predicted Starting XI: Greenwood, Ighalo and Fernandes leading the attack in Austria with McTominay, Matic and Fred controlling the midfield?

Solskjaer may take the option to weaken this squad against LASK on Thursday, much like he did against Club Brugge last month seeing that United will face a big match against Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday afternoon in the Premier League. However, he could field a number of his players, keeping them fit ahead of this match, utilising his substitutes to keep the freshness in the squad for Sunday.

Match Prediction: United and LASK have never played each other before with the Austrian side not even playing another English club. However, United have faced Austrian clubs eight times; winning seven and drawing once.

United and LASK have never met before with the Austrian side not even playing another English team in European competition. United have played Austrian competition eight times in Europe, winning seven times and drawing once – the most recent matches were played in the 2000/01 season against Sturm Graz at a time where there was a second group stage in the elite European competition – the UEFA Champions League.

LASK started the season in the Champions League, albeit the third round of the qualification stage beating Basel 5-2 on aggregate but falling short with Club Brugge, losing 3-1 on aggregate, entering the Europa League. In the group stages, LASK topped the group winning all three home games in a group containing Sporting CP, PSV Eindhoven and Rosenborg. In the round of 32, LASK beat AZ Alkmaar 3-1 on aggregate.

LASK 0-2 Manchester United

copyright: JW