The Europa League enters its quarter-final stage this week as the new one-legged format kicks off in UEFA competitions.
Manchester United progressed to this round with a 7-1 aggregate win over LASK Linz, with a 2-1 win in the return leg last week. Goals from Jesse Lingard and substitute Anthony Martial saw them come from behind on the night, but the club were already comfortable following their 5-0 win in the first leg back in March.
Copenhagen come into this game following a 3-0 home win last week against Istanbul, giving them a 3-1 aggregate win after their first leg defeat pre-lockdown. Former Reds defender Guillermo Varela assisted Jonas Wind’s first of the night, before he doubled his tally from the spot. Rasmus Falk put the game beyond doubt just after the hour mark with a fine finish from the edge of the box.
The two sides have faced each other just twice before, with both teams winning one apiece in the 2006/07 Champions League group stages.
United will come into this game looking to win this entire competition, with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær adamant that he wants a trophy to cap off a relatively successful season for his side. After finishing 3rd in the Premier League, the Red Devils secured Champions League football for next season and with a packed schedule many expected the fringe players to take over this competition with importance not being so high up on the priorities anymore.
However, Solskjær revealed during his pre-match press conference that only three regular first-teamers haven’t travelled as part of the squad to Cologne. Luke Shaw, Axel Tuanzebe and Phil Jones are all injured and unable to feature in any fixtures United could play in the remainder of the tournament so have been left at home. United have called up some younger talent though, as James Garner, Ethan Laird, Ethan Galbraith and Teden Mengi have all travelled.
Copenhagen boss Stale Solbakken has talked down his sides chances in this game. The Norwegian boss said “don’t put your house on us” when asked about his thoughts on the game, but they will look to attack down the flanks and stay solid defensively.
Man Utd: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Pogba; Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford; Martial (4-2-3-1)
FC Copenhagen: Johnsson; Varela, Nelsson, Bjelland, Bollesen; Mudrazija, Zeca; Biel, Wind, Jensen; Kaufman (4-2-3-1)
With an unchanged line-up for Copenhagen, they’ll match up with United’s strongest possible line-up in a 4-2-3-1 shape. Solskjær’s side have obviously got more individual quality and will be well rested since the end of the Premier League season. They’re in relatively good form and have enough depth and options that they can make changes if necessary and still be strong enough to dispatch of Copenhagen.
If the Reds can get an early goal and put this game to bed before the hour mark, expect them to rest players in anticipation for a much tougher semi-final clash the following Monday against either Wolves or Sevilla.
Manchester United 3-0 FC Copenhagen – Martial, Fernandes, Rashford.
Over 2.5 match goals – 8/13
Anthony Martial to score anytime – EVS