After getting frustrated against Southampton over the weekend, Manchester United will aim to progress to the quarter-finals of the Europa League when they face Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarin on Thursday.
The 7-0 humbling at Anfield against Liverpool needed a response and manager Erik Ten Hag could come with one against Real Betis in the first leg of the two-legged Round of 16 tie in the Europa League. Manchester United won the first leg with a 4-1 scoreline, leaving their Spanish counterparts in an almost irrecoverable pit.
However, they couldn’t add to their momentum from the Europa League win and demonstrated a lacklustre display against Southampton in their last Premier League outing. Former Real Madrid midfielder Casemiro was again shown a red card and now he is set to be suspended for four Premier League matches — a huge blow for Manchester United. The midfielder has shown passionate displays on the pitch for The Reds but sometimes his overly dynamic nature gets him into trouble with the referees.
The draw at Old Trafford meant United are now 16 points short of league leaders Arsenal. While fans were cheering for a potential late title challenge from their rejuvenated side, it now seems quite challenging to reach the expected heights.
Meanwhile, the hosts, Real Betis came away with a point in their last league clash against Villarreal. Striker Borja Iglesias gave the Verdiblancos a slender at halftime but The Yellow Submarines’ Yeremy Pino soon equalised the scores after the resumption. The draw meant a blow for Real Betis as they lost ground in the top four race and are now three points short of 4th-placed Real Sociedad, currently at 45 points.
While Europa League football looks set for Manuel Pellegrini’s side for next season, they are expected to endeavour a bit more than usual and will aim to potentially secure a Champions League spot late in the season.
Real Betis Predicted XI
Bravo; Sabaly, Pezzella, Ruiz, Miranda; Carvalho, Rodriguez; Canales, Perez, Juanmi; Iglesias
Manchester United Predicted XI
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Malacia; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Fernandes, Sancho; Rashford