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Review & Ratings: Fernandes MOTM in 5-0 victory over Club Brugge; Fred immense with his brace, Shaw improved, proud for Ighalo

Manchester United beat Club Brugge 5-0 at Old Trafford in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg, winning 6-1 on aggregate over the two legs – almost the same aggregate scoreline from the last time the two teams met in the Champions League qualification round. Bruno Fernandes was the MOTM for his performance, scoring a penalty and having involvement in Odion Ighalo and Scott McTominay’s first half goals. Fred scored a brace in the second half. Round of 16 here we come.

United started on the front foot in the second leg clash, seeking to find an early lead with eight attempts on goal, four on target in the opening half hour. In the 22nd minute, United won a penalty after Simon Deli became the goalkeeper, making a save with his hand. He was immediately sent off but VAR had to check, after a near four minute delay. Bruno Fernandes took the kick beating Simon Mignolet from the spot to put United 1-0 up.

United doubled their lead in the 34th minute of the match with Odion Ighalo, on his first start for the club, scoring this first golfer the club. Fernandes turned Hans Vanaken sending the ball to Juan Mata at the back post. The Spanish magician then squared the ball to the Nigerian who buried his shot past Mignolet with a rousing celebration from the Old Trafford faithful.

A third goal was not that far away from United with Scott McTominay United’s third of the game, putting them 4-1 up on aggregate in the tie. It was Fernandes who set up the play again taking on two opposition players sending Fred into the area. The Brazilian then set up McTominay, who was unmarked curling his finish to put United 3-0 up in this fixture. It was a great half of football and probably another MOTM for Fernandes.

United were not finished. In the 82nd minute Fred got his name on the scoresheet, already getting an assist for McTominay goal which put United 3-0 up. Jesse Lingard filled in for Fernandes, after replaced him in the 65th minute, after a hustle from Luke Shaw to get the ball forward. Lingard was away down the left, skipping past Matej Mitrovic before cutting the ball in for Fred who was waiting for it. United made this look easy with some great football.

United scored a fifth at the death of the game. Fred struck for the second time putting United 5-0 up, winning 6-1 on aggregate over the two legs. Tahith Chong made the cut back picking out the Brazilian at the top of the area with the midfielder thundering his effort into the back of the net. Mignolet will not have been a happy chappy as United secured their place in the draw for the round of 16 on Friday. Well done United, now onto Everton on Sunday at Goodison Park in the Premier League.

Manchester United

22 Sergio Romero

The Argentinian had little to do in this game. Brugge has seven shots - none of which were on target with four of them being blocked. It was another clean sheet, something he has done more often than not when playing for United. De Gea will be happy with the rest. Onwards to Sunday.

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29 Aaron Wan-Bissaka

The right-back played well against Brugge, doing everything that he needed to do. It was a game that United did not need to defend much in, playing a lot of attacking king football. Sunday against Everton will be different, I would imagine.

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3 Eric Bailly

The Ivorian was back to his best, helping United out in defence when the Belgian side were on the attack, which was not all that regular. United dominated the game, cruising to another Old Trafford victory.

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5 Harry Maguire

The captain played a good game, not that he needed to do much as after the first goal, Brugge seldom attacked in a dangerous way. This was a much-needed result for Maguire and United who will be looking to press on in this competition and in the Premier League hopefully en-route to the Champions League next season.

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23 Luke Shaw

Fantastic performance by Shaw. The challenge of Williams has been good for him. He's adapted to playing in a different position at times, playing at left-back tonight. He got forward a lot of the time and even had a hand in United's third goal, which was scored by Fred.

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39 Scott McTominay

It is so good to see McTominay back in the team. Some criticise him but he puts 100% into each appearances which is what is needed at this club. Not every player needs to be a star name - just needs to know what the club is about and McTominay gets it. The midfield is a lot better with him in it. There is a reason why Mourinho rated him so highly.

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17 Fred

The midfielder played well and got himself two goals, United's fourth and fifth, also an assist for McTominay's goal which put United 3-0 up before half time. Fred has been an improvement this season and definitely has a place in this team, maybe as a squad player if Solskjaer delves into the transfer market for another midfielder in the summer.

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8 Juan Mata

The Spaniard had a good game and got himself an assist for Ighalo's first goal for the club. Playing in a team with Fernandes brings the best out of Mata and means he's not the only footballing brain in the team now, which is a good thing.

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18 Bruno Fernandes

Amazing. Scored the opening goal, from the spot with calmness and had a had in the set up of both Ighalo and McTominay's goals. This guy is immense. If United had started the season with him, they could have been in a much better position. MOTM for me.

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21 Daniel James

The Welshman played well against Brugge and perhaps could have done more to ensure he got the better of his opposition. His has improved in recent weeks and will be longing for another goal to add to his tally this season. James was replaced by Chong at the start of the second half.

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25 Odion Ighalo

I am thrilled for the Nigerian. His first start, his first goal both at the Theatre of Dreams. He will have been dreaming about this moment for a long time and now he got to live it. He was in form and a problem for Brugge to defend against. He will have a big say in what United achieves this season. He just seems to understand how a striker plays and that seems alien to United, not having an out and out striker before Ighalo came to the club.

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Substitutes

Tahith Chong

Replaced James 46'. It was a good run out for the Dutch forward. He did not have much impact but tried his best. He got an assist for Fred's second goal at the death of the game and Solskjaer will be happy with his performance - despite him not getting many appearances of late.

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14 Jesse Lingard

Replaced Fernandes 65'. Lingard got an assist and could have perhaps scored minutes later. He's not in the best of form but needed this appearance tonight to find his feet. Fernandes will keep him out of the team more often than not. He needs to work hard to find his place, otherwise in the future, he could be seeking another club.

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11 Mason Greenwood

Replaced McTominay 72'. It was a lively performance for the teenager. He tried to get his name on the scoresheet once again but it did not work out for him. He got a run out and will be ready for Sunday, if he is called upon.

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Goals: Bruno Fernandes 27′ (pen), Odion Ighalo 34′, Scott McTominay 41′, Fred 82′, 90+3′

Assists: Juan Mata 34′, Fred 41′, Jesse Lingard 82′, Tahith Chong 90+3′

Manchester United: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; McTominay (Greenwood 72′), Fred; Mata, Fernandes (Lingard 65′), James (Chong 46′); Ighalo

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

Bookings: Simon Deli 22′

Confirmed Starting XI: Ighalo starts against Brugge; Fernandes, McTominay and Fred also start in last 16 bid

Manchester United welcome Club Brugge back to Old Trafford this evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side earned a 1-1 draw at the Jan Breydel Stadium last Thursday, getting an away goal courtesy of Anthony Martial. United need to win this match in order to put themselves into Friday’s round of 16 draw in their bid for glory this season, which will also put them into the Champions League, if a Premier League position does not do that.

On Sunday, United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford with Bruno Fernandes scoring from the spot, Anthony Martial doubling United’s lead and Mason Greenwood, assisted by Fernandes scoring the third goal of the game. Odion Ighalo, who has not yet started for United in the three matches played, came on in the second half and could have scored on his Old Trafford debut. Perhaps he will make his first start on Thursday?

Scott McTominay recovered from his knee injury to come off the bench against Watford and could well find himself starting in midfield against the Belgian side. Axel Tuanzebe could well be in line to be involved in the squad with Tim Fosu-Mensah also seeking to make his return after a thigh injury sustained since making his comeback from his long-term knee injury which required surgery.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw;

McTominay, Fred;

Mata, Fernandes, James;

Ighalo

Substitutes:

De Gea; Lindelof, Williams; Lingard, Matic, Chong; Greenwood

Club Brugge:

Mignolet;

Mata, Mechele, Deli, Ricca;

Kossounou, Vanaken, Rits;

Tau, Okereke, De Cuyper

Substitutes:

Horvath; Sobol, Mitrović; Diatta, Schrijvers, De Ketelaere; Krmenčík

United and Club Brugge have played a total of three matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 2015. United have won two matches which were played during the qualification rounds of the UEFA Champions League during the 2015/16 season, drawing last week’s match. At Old Trafford, United won 3-1 with a own goal by Michael Carrick putting Brugge ahead then a brace from Memphis Depay followed by a goal from Marouane Fellaini put United in the driving seat to reach the group stages.

Away from home at the Jan Breydel Stadium, United won 4-0 with a hat-trick from Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera scoring the final goal of the match. United beat the Belgian side 7-1 on aggregate to reach the group stages of the Champions League. United have always done well against Belgian teams in Europe, playing a total of eleven matches, winning seven, drawing twice and losing twice – scoring 33 goals, conceding 10.

How Manchester United could look against Club Brugge; 4-3-1-2 Martial & Ighalo leading the line, Fernandes creating the magic?

Manchester United still have work to do in the UEFA Europa League on Thursday evening at Old Trafford when they welcome Club Brugge for the round of 32 second leg. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side earned a 1-1 draw in Belgium last Thursday with Anthony Martial scoring United’s only goal of the game. The important away goal sees them in the driving seat in the tie so Solskjaer will need to select a strong side to get a victory.

United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford on Sunday with Bruno Fernandes, Martial and Mason Greenwood scoring the goals to earn three important points in the Premier League. United travel to Goodison Park to face Everton on Sunday in the Premier League so giving players a rest will be something that is needed, although they will not play again after facing Everton for four days.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Club Brugge in the UEFA Europa League at Old Trafford on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

The Argentinian goalkeeper has been the mainstay in goal during cup matches with David De Gea playing some Europa League matches. However, after his heroics against Watford and the fact that he will be needed against Everton at the weekend, I fully expect Sergio Romero start against the Belgian side. Recently, Romero has played in four cup matches, keeping three clean sheets in those four matches. United will be in good hands with him in goal with De Gea focussing on Sinday’s match away to Everton.

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

The defence may need a little tweak in order to get the best out of it. Eric Bailly should be starting ahead of Victor Lindelof as I believe he has more to offer and judging by his performance against Chelsea last week, despite the knock he received and the fact he’s only just come back from a major knee injury, he needs to be protected. This could be a good match to test him and see if he can form a partnership with Harry Maguire. Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Luke Shaw should be the two fullbacks in the back for against the Belgian side.

Midfield: Fred, Nemanja Matic, Scott McTominay

The midfield is stronger with the arrival of Bruno Fernandes, who can play in a more advanced area, cutting United’s reliance on Paul Pogba, who is currently injured, or does not want to play for the club – which is just what it seems based on speculation. Scott McTominay returned to action against Watford at the weekend so I expect him to be ready to start, playing in a three man midfield with Fred and Nemanja Matic, which can dominate the midfield areas and shield the defence, making United much better for the remainder of the season.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder is the most exciting player at the club right now. He has score one goal and has two assists to his name in four appearances this season, which is good, especially at this point of the season with United seeking to find a path to glory with Marcus Rashford on the sidelines, likely for the remainder of the season through injury. Fernandes can play in a more advanced role, this time, based on my prediction, behind the strikers; Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo, which could just spark something from the trio and carry United home.

Forwards: Anthony Martial, Odion Ighalo

United have seldom has the availability to play two strikers in many matches this season – partly down to injury but mainly down to the fact the club sold Romelu Lukaku and loaned Alexis Sanchez without bringing in any replacements. Granted, things have not been all that bad but United have had moments of discontent. Despite Rashford’s injury, the fact they have Martial, Ighalo and Greenwood cold be enough for the remainder of the season. I imagine these two playing together up front being fed by Fernandes, which could produce moments of magic for the Old Trafford club. Solskjaer needs to try it sooner rather than later.

Substitutes: Nathan Bishop; Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot, Brandon Williams; Juan Mata, Daniel James; Mason Greenwood

United will need something from the bench to get the better of Brugge as I feel they will try to get themselves back into the game after playing with confidence at home last week. However, their injuries and suspensions could upset the apple cart. I expect De Gea to be rested so with Lee Grant out through injury, Nathan Bishop could be on the bench as the substitute goalkeeper. In defence, Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot and Brandon Williams could be utilised. In midfield, Juan Mata and Daniel James could be options, especially if United need to provide more width with James the best player in this regard. Mason Greenwood will be the forward on the bench, who could provide width too, giving United more dimension late in the game, if needed.

Preview: Bruno Fernandes the key player to Manchester United’s success against Club Brugge at the Theatre of Dreams on Thursday evening

Manchester United -v- Club Brugge

UEFA Europa League

Old Trafford, Manchester

Thursday 27 February 2020, KO 20:00 GMT

Referee: Serdar Gözübüyük  Assistants: Charles Schaap, Jan de Vries Fourth Official: Allard Lindhout

VAR: Jochem Kamphuis Assistant VAR: Bas Nijhuis

Manchester United welcome Club Brugge back to Old Trafford on Thursday evening in the UEFA Europa League round of 32 second leg. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side earned a 1-1 draw at the Jan Breydel Stadium last Thursday, getting an away goal courtesy of Anthony Martial. United need to win this match in order to put themselves into Friday’s round of 16 draw in their bid for glory this season, which will also put them into the Champions League, if a Premier League position does not do that.

On Sunday, United beat Watford 3-0 at Old Trafford with Bruno Fernandes scoring from the spot, Anthony Martial doubling United’s lead and Mason Greenwood, assisted by Fernandes scoring the third goal of the game. Odion Ighalo, who has not yet started for United in the three matches played, came on in the second half and could have scored on his Old Trafford debut. Perhaps he will make his first start on Thursday?

Scott McTominay recovered from his knee injury to come off the bench against Watford and could well find himself starting in midfield against the Belgian side. Axel Tuanzebe could well be in line to be involved in the squad with Tim Fosu-Mensah also seeking to make his return after a thigh injury sustained since making his comeback from his long-term knee injury which required surgery.

Form: Both United and Brugge undefeated in their last six matches winning four and drawing twice. However, United scored 13 goals conceding one, keeping five clean sheets which is better than Brugge.

Manchester United: WDWDWW

Watford 3-0 W, Club Brugge 1-1 D, Chelsea 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W

Club Brugge: WDWDWW

Sporting Charleroi 1-0 W, Manchester United 1-1 D, Waasland-Beveren 2-1 W, Standard Liege 0-0 D, Zulte-Waregem 2-1 W, Antwerp 1-0 W

Top Scorers: 49 goals scored this season by Rashford, Martial and Greenwood. The addition of Fernandes and Ighalo could see United on the trail of goals more often than not.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 15 – Anthony Martial, 11 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Bruno Fernandes, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Harry Maguire, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have seemingly turned a corner after back to back defeats in the Premier League last month. In the past six matches, United are undefeated, winning four and drawing twice, scoring 13 goals and conceding just one, keeping five clean sheets. At this important stage of the season, in the Premier League, Europa League and with the FA Cup sixth round coming up, United seem to be looking to achieve something.

Club Brugge Goals: 16 – Hans Vanaken, 11 – David Okereke, 9 – Emmanuel Dennis, 8 – Krépin Diatta, 4 – Mbaye Diagne, Siebe Schrijvers, Percy Tau, 3 – Éder Balanta, Simon Deli, Mats Rits, Ruud Vormer, 2 – Federico Ricca, 1 – Charles De Ketelaere, Brandon Mechele, Loïs Openda

Club Brugge are still top of the league in Belgium and seeking to put themselves into the round of 16 draw of the Europa League on Friday. However, United stand in their way at the Theatre of Dreams. Undefeated in their last six matches, the same as United, Brugge will be seeking to keep that form running. They have won four and draw twice, scoring seven goals, conceding three, keeping three clean sheets.

Team News: Three players out for the long-term with two nearing the end of their injury spell to strengthen United at an important part of the season; Brugge have five players injured and another suspended.

Solskjaer will be without Marcus Rashford (lower back), Paul Pogba (ankle), and Lee Grant (wrist) for this match with the trio recovering from long-term injuries. Axel Tuanzebe (thigh) could be back in action for this match, although it might come too soon for him whereas Tim Fosu-Mensah (thigh) could be ready for the Everton match on Sunday. Solskjaer will be happy that the injury list is getting smaller.

United will need to win this match in order to make it into the draw for the round of 16 stage of the Europa League this season, which will take place at noon (GMT) on Friday 28 February 2020. The 1-1 draw in Brugge last Thursday gives United a slight advantage having the away goal so a clean sheet and a 1-0 victory would be enough but United need to continue building their confidence so scoring more goals will be good.

Brugge will be without Krépin Diatta who has a groin injury and Éder Balanta who is suspended after being booked last week whilst he was a card away from a suspension. Emmanuel Dennis and captain Ruud Vormer will also miss out with both not travelling to Manchester. Youssouph Badji and Ignace Van der Brempt who both missed the first leg have not recovered wither. Loïs Openda is also a booking away from a suspension.

Brugge will be seeking to overturn United’s away goal and put themselves back in with a chance of reaching the round of 16 stage. However, with United seeking to keep their options open in view of reaching the Champions League next season, I expect them to prevail.

Predicted Starting XI: Martial and Ighalo to lead the line with Fernandes’ creative ability just behind with a three-man midfield consisting of McTominay, Fred and Matic?

Solskjaer should think about starting Odion Ighalo against Club Brugge after him making three appearances for the club and looking lively each time. United need to win this match. Having a forward line of Anthony Martial and Ighalo with Bruno Fernandes behind them would provide some good attacking play. A midfield three of Scott McTominay, Fred and Nemanja Matic would strengthen the midfield too, ahead of a four man defence consisting of Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire and Luke Shaw with Sergio Romero stepping in for David De Gea once again.

Match Prediction: United to seal their fate in the Europa League this season by beating Club Brugge and earning a round of 16 place in their bid for Champions League qualification this season.

United and Club Brugge have played a total of three matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 2015. United have won two matches which were played during the qualification rounds of the UEFA Champions League during the 2015/16 season, drawing last week’s match. At Old Trafford, United won 3-1 with a own goal by Michael Carrick putting Brugge ahead then a brace from Memphis Depay followed by a goal from Marouane Fellaini put United in the driving seat to reach the group stages.

Away from home at the Jan Breydel Stadium, United won 4-0 with a hat-trick from Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera scoring the final goal of the match. United beat the Belgian side 7-1 on aggregate to reach the group stages of the Champions League. United have always done well against Belgian teams in Europe, playing a total of eleven matches, winning seven, drawing twice and losing twice – scoring 33 goals, conceding 10.

Manchester United 4-0 Club Brugge

Confirmed Starting XI: Martial, Lingard and Mata start against Club Brugge; Ighalo and Fernandes on the bench

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action this evening when they travel to Belgium to face Club Brugge in the round of 32 at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to guide his team into the round of 16 of the competition this season as it is one of two chances they will have to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season; winning this competition or finishing inside the top four of the Premier League.

United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening, the second time they have done so at the stadium this season, the third time they have beaten Frank Lampard’s team this season – scoring eight goals, conceding just one. Solskjaer will be happy to see him team get a league double over Chelsea for the first time in more than 20 years, boosting the squads confidence after what has been a poor season so far. The last time United faced Brugge, almost five years ago, they beat them twice.

Manchester United:

Romero;

Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw;

Dalot, Matic, Pereira, Williams;

Mata, Lingard;

Martial

Substitutes:

De Gea; Bailly, Wan-Bissaka; Fred, Fernandes, James; Ighalo

Club Brugge:

Mignolet;

Mata, Kossounou, Mechele, Deli;

Rits, Balanta, Vanaken;

Bonaventure, Tau, De Cuyper

Substitutes:

Okereke, Mitrovic, Schrijvers, Ricca, Horvath, Vormer, de Ketelaere

United and Club Brugge have played a total of two matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 2015. United have won both matches which were played during the qualification rounds of the UEFA Champions League during the 2015/16 season. At Old Trafford, United won 3-1 with an own goal by Michael Carrick putting Brugge ahead then a brace from Memphis Depay followed by a goal from Marouane Fellaini put United in the driving seat to reach the group stages.

Away from home at the Jan Breydel Stadium, United won 4-0 with a hat-trick from Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera scoring the final goal of the match. United beat the Belgian side 7-1 on aggregate to reach the group stages of the Champions League. United have always done well against Belgian teams in Europe, playing a total of ten matches, winning seven, drawing once and losing twice – scoring 32 goals, conceding nine.

How Manchester United could look against Club Brugge; 3-4-3 formation with Ighalo and Martial up front with Fernandes in behind

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening when they travel to Belgium to face Club Brugge in the round of 32 at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to guide his team into the round of 16 of the competition this season as it is one of two chances they will have to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season; winning this competition or finishing inside the top four of the Premier League.

United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening, the second time they have done so at the stadium this season, the third time they have beaten Frank Lampard’s team this season – scoring eight goals, conceding just one. Solskjaer will be happy to see him team get a league double over Chelsea for the first time in more than 20 years, boosting the squads confidence after what has been a poor season so far. The last time United faced Brugge, almost five years ago, they beat them twice.

Here is my predicted starting XI to face Club Brugge in the UEFA Europa League at Jan Breydel Stadium on Thursday evening…

Goalkeeper: Sergio Romero

Sergio Romero should replace David De Gea against Club Brugge, resting him for the Premier League clash with Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday. With Lee Grant on the sidelines through injury, Nathan Bishop could find himself on the bench in the Europa League, which will be some good experience for him. Romero is a good goalkeeper and can perform just as well as De Gea – keeping clean sheets and helping United achieve their goals this season.

Defenders: Eric Bailly, Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw

The defence is something that United have a lot of ability in and now that Eric Bailly is back, he could form a partnership with Harry Maguire, who has been playing well this season, scoring two goals in recent matches. Luke Shaw could play in the same position as he did against Chelsea, forming a back three, meaning United can play from the back and sit deep in the opposition half of the pitch aiming to dominate.

Midfield: Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Fred, Nemanja Matic, Brandon Williams

This formation may not be needed against Club Brugge but it worked against Chelsea and has been something that Solskjaer has used away from home a lot of the time recently. It gives width across the midfield also giving Fernandes the freedom to play further forward. With Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Brandon Williams playing the wing-back positions and Fred and Nemanja Matic playing in the central midfield positions, helping link the defence with the attacking players.

Attacking Midfield: Bruno Fernandes

The Portuguese midfielder has been a good signing for United, despite only playing two matches so far. Against Chelsea on Monday evening, he showed his class and his ability as he is settling into a new team. Against Brugge, a team he played against during pre-season, and scored, he will have the opportunity to show his worth to the club. Fernandes is a great creator of goals and assists, which will be good for United, especially when they are full strength.

Forwards: Odion Ighalo, Anthony Martial

Odion Ighalo was unlucky against Chelsea as he almost scored a goal on his debut. He should be fit enough to start against Club Brugge on Thursday, partnering Anthony Martial up front with Bruno Fernandes in behind them. United need to find the best way to be scoring goals to carry the club forward. With Marcus Rashford on the sidelines, it will be a big loss for United but when he returns, as long as he can find his form again, United could be rich in attacking talent for the remainder of the season.

Substitutes: Nathan Bishop; Phil Jones, Diogo Dalot; Juan Mata, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay; Mason Greenwood

United will have to make do with the players they have available due to injuries. Nathan Bishop could be available on the bench as the club third choice goalkeeper with David De Gea being rested. Phil Jones and Diogo Dalot could be the defensive reinforcement on the bench with Victor Lindelof missing the last match through illness. In midfield, Juan Mata and Andreas Pereira could be options with Mason Greenwood the attacking player on the bench.

Preview: Manchester United to continue winning run against Club Brugge; Fernandes and Ighalo to show their class?

Club Brugge -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

Jan Breydel Stadium, Brugge

Thursday 20 February 2020, KO 17:55 GMT

Referee: Aleksei Kulbakov Assistants: Dmitri Zhuk, Oleg Maslyanko Fourth Official: Denis Scherbakov 

VAR: Marco Guida Assistant VAR: Michael Fabbri

Manchester United will return to UEFA Europa League action on Thursday evening when they travel to Belgium to face Club Brugge in the round of 32 at the Jan Breydel Stadium. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be seeking to guide his team into the round of 16 of the competition this season as it is one of two chances they will have to qualify for the UEFA Champions League next season; winning this competition or finishing inside the top four of the Premier League.

United beat Chelsea 2-0 at Stamford Bridge on Monday evening, the second time they have done so at the stadium this season, the third time they have beaten Frank Lampard’s team this season – scoring eight goals, conceding just one. Solskjaer will be happy to see him team get a league double over Chelsea for the first time in more than 20 years, boosting the squads confidence after what has been a poor season so far. The last time United faced Brugge, almost five years ago, they beat them twice.

Form: United may not be the team in the best form in this match but they have faced better competition; three wins, one draw and two defeats whereas Brugge are undefeated with three wins and three draws in their last six matches.

Manchester United: WDWWLL

Chelsea 2-0 W, Wolverhampton Wanderers 0-0 D, Manchester City 1-0 W, Tranmere Rovers 6-0 W, Burnley 2-0 L, Liverpool 2-0 L

Club Brugge: WDWWDD

Waasland-Beveren 2-1 W, Standard Liége 0-0 D, Zulte-Waregem 2-1 W, Antwerp 1-0 W, Sporting Charleroi 0-0 D, Kortrijk 2-2 D

Top Scorers: United have scored more goals than Club Brugge this season but that means nothing when they go head to head. I expect United to reign supreme in what will be the third match between the two clubs.

Manchester United Goals: 19 – Marcus Rashford, 13 – Anthony Martial, 10 – Mason Greenwood, 3 – Daniel James, Scott McTominay, 2 – Own Goal, Jesse Lingard, Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Andreas Pereira, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have had a mixed season regularly taking one step forwards and two steps backwards. The 2-0 victory over Chelsea on Monday evening could be another step forward but they need to ensure they do not go backwards, like they have at different stages this season. Kicking on from here and working towards the goal is needed. Bruno Fernandes and Odion Ighalo will go a long way to helping those goals become achievable.

Club Brugge Goals: 16 – Hans Vanaken, 11 – David Okereke, 8 – Emmanuel Dennis, Krépin Diatta, 4 – Mbaye Diagne, Siebe Schrijvers, Percy Tau, 3 – Simon Deli, Mats Rits, Ruud Vormer, 2 – Éder Balanta, Federico Ricca, 1 – Charles De Ketelaere, Brandon Mechele, Loïs Openda

Club Brugge have done well this season, at least in the Jupiler Pro League and currently at the top of the table nine points clear of Gent. They have the longest winning run in the league; four matches and have a nine match unbeaten run and have lost just one league match this season. They have reached the Belgian Cup final next month, which is another positive, however, in the Champions League, three draws and three defeats saw them knocked out into the Europa League.

Team News: Five players out for United with Grant, Rashford, Pogba, Tuanzebe and Fosu-Mensah out but McTominay could be fit for a place on the bench.

United will be without at least five players for the trip to Brugge on Thursday. Lee Grant (wrist), Marcus Rashford (back), Paul Pogba (ankle), Axel Tuanzebe (thigh), and Tim Fosu-Mensah (thigh) remain on the sidelines. Scott McTominay could be available in the squad for this match. Victor Lindelof was missing against Chelsea due to illness, so couldn’t be out for another match. Nathan Bishop, the third choice goalkeeper, could be on the bench with David De Gea being rested.

At this moment in time, Club Brugge have no injuries to players so look to be facing up against United with a full squad. However, there are two players that would be suspended for the second leg at Old Trafford if they receive a booking on Thursday evening; Éder Balanta, Loïs Openda. United have only been beaten on one Europa League match this season, which was when Solskjaer rotated many of his first team players for the trip to Astana, losing 2-1. Brugge may need to put in a lot of work to get the better of them.

Predicted Starting XI: Ighalo to start for United for the first time, partnered with Martial with Fernandes just behind them?

Solskjaer may not have the available depth in the squad to make many changes against Brugge on Thursday evening. Scott McTominay could be fit enough for a place on the bench, which would be good for United not having to rely on Fred and Nemanja Matic in each match, giving them a break. I would like to see Anthony Martial and Odion Ighalo start up front with Bruno Fernandes just behind them, running the show.

Match Prediction: United and Club Brugge have met twice before with United winning both matches. Again Belgian teams, United have won seven times, drawn once and lost twice – the last defeat in October 2000.

United and Club Brugge have played a total of two matches in this history of both clubs with the first match being played in 2015. United have won both matches which were played during the qualification rounds of the UEFA Champions League during the 2015/16 season. At Old Trafford, United won 3-1 with a own goal by Michael Carrick putting Brugge ahead then a brace from Memphis Depay followed by a goal from Marouane Fellaini put United in the driving seat to reach the group stages.

Away from home at the Jan Breydel Stadium, United won 4-0 with a hat-trick from Wayne Rooney and Ander Herrera scoring the final goal of the match. United beat the Belgian side 7-1 on aggregate to reach the group stages of the Champions League. United have always done well against Belgian teams in Europe, playing a total of ten matches, winning seven, drawing once and losing twice – scoring 32 goals, conceding nine.

Club Brugge 0-3 Manchester United

copyright: JW