Manchester United host Anderlecht this evening, in the second leg of the Europa League quarter final. They head into the game on the back of, arguably, their greatest performance of the season against Chelsea. There’s no doubt confidence will be high, but there’s a trophy at stake, and the chance to progress in the competition which could be their ticket to the Champions League.
I know, after taking apart Antonio Conte’s side with ease on Sunday, plenty of United fans will expect plenty of goals tonight. The fact is, with an away goal on their side, Mourinho’s side can head into the game, sit back and still go through if they so wish. That would be an unlikely and risky tactic, but with nine of United’s last 11 home games featuring less than three goals, and with a packed schedule ahead, I’m not expecting a goal-fest.
On top of that, Mourinho’s men have kept a clean sheet in nine of their last 12 games at home. With the Manchester Derby around the corner and a testing game at Turf Moor, you’d think they’ll be looking to get the job done as efficiently as possible.
The home side have scored at least once in 34 of their last 37 matches in all competitions, and with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Henrikh Mkhitaryan ready to return to the starting XI, both of whom have scored already in the UEL, Jose certainly has goal-scoring options. A repeat of Sunday’s scoreline certainly looks feasible, and paired with the above clean sheet stat, 11/2 looks decent value here.
A little over a year ago, a certain lad from Wythenshawe made his United debut. It was Marcus Rashford, and under the watchful eye of Louis van Gaal, he scored two against FC Midtjylland. He went on to score in his Premier League debut, his League Cup debut, his England debut, and his maiden Manchester derby.
As Zlatan came in, Rashford’s performances at centre-forward reduced, and his goals dried up. A goal against Sunderland seemed to come as a release, before his stellar performance last weekend. It will be pretty tough for Mourinho to drop him, regardless of Ibra’s return to the team. He’s 7/2 to score first tonight, which could be a good shout if he is buoyed by his return to the score-sheet.