AC Milan vs Man Utd: Europa League Preview
Man Utd take a trip to the San Siro in Italy to face AC Milan this evening in the hope of gaining a place in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League.
In the first-leg of the tie, Amad Diallo was subbed on at half-time only to score his first senior goal for Utd, putting them ahead in the 50th minute. However, AC Milan were able to find a last-minute equaliser at Old Trafford, resulting in a 1-1 draw.
Man Utd will therefore need to score at least one away goal in Milan in order to have any chance of progressing further in the competition. If after 90 minutes the score is 1-1, it will go into extra time. However, if the game ends in a 2-2 draw, Utd would go through on away goals.
Edinson Cavani, Anthony Martial, Eric Bailly and Juan Mata are not part of the travelling squad for Utd.
Talking to MUTV on Wednesday evening, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said, “Unfortunately, it looks like Edinson [Cavani] has got a bit of a reaction to training today and didn’t feel ready to travel.”
Anthony Martial was also confirmed as being an absentee for the game and Eric Bailly failed to pass a late fitness test, therefore not making the squad.
In more positive news, Solskjaer confirmed that David de Gea, Paul Pogba and Donny van de Beek are all part of the travelling squad.
De Gea has completed his quarantine after returning to Manchester and both Pogba and van de Beek have recovered from injuries making them available for selection.
As Fred, Nemanja Matic and Scott McTominay have been in constant rotation, it will be a relief for Solskjaer to finally have some alternatives in the midfield, offering some more creativity within the team.
AC Milan have also received a huge injury boost as Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be back and available for selection. AC Milan coach, Stefano Pioli, said in his pre-match press conference, “Having Zlatan back is huge; he doesn’t have 90 minutes in the legs, but we’ll see tomorrow.”
Therefore, even though the former Utd striker will be available, he is unlikely to play the full game and may even start on the bench.
Ismael Bennacer will also be available, alongside Man Utd loanee Diogo Dalot who will be eligible to feature once again against his parent club.
However, Alessio Romagnoli, Ante Rebic, Davide Calabria and Rafael Leao will all have to face late fitness tests to see whether they will be available for selection.
Man Utd (4-2-3-1): Henderson; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Pogba; Rashford; Fernandes; James; Greenwood.
David de Gea is travelling with the squad, however, there is a chance Solskjaer will still opt with Dean Henderson as he has been Utd’s cup goalkeeper this season.
At the back, no changes are expected to be made from the game against West Ham last Sunday. As Eric Bailly is not travelling, Victor Lindelof will keep his place in the back four, as will Luke Shaw whose current excellent form makes him a key man both defensively and going forward for Utd.
With Paul Pogba back from injury, there is no reason why Solskjaer should not pick the Frenchman in the starting line-up to play alongside Fred. With a win needed in order to progress into the next round, Pogba’s strength and creativity will be vital in helping to break down Milan’s defence.
With Anthony Martial and Edinson Cavani both out with injury, Mason Greenwood will get another chance to impress in a centre-forward position. Marcus Rashford will keep his place on the left wing, with Dan James also likely to keep his place on the right.
With the likes of Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek, Amad and Scott McTominay all on the bench, Solskjaer will have more options than usual to choose from allowing Utd to be more tactical in their approach.
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Donnarumma; Dalot, Kjaer, Tomori, Theo; Kessie, Tonali; Saelemaekers, Calhanoglu, Krunic; Ibrahimovic