Manchester United remain gutted at not being able to bring Champions League back to Old Trafford, but the UEFA Europa League serves as a fairly realistic goal to get back to the top European competition. The Red Devils won the competition back in 2017 during Jose Mourinho’s first season in charge and will look to repeat that fate upon their return to the competition.
In good fortunes, they’ve been placed in a relatively comfortable group they should get maximum points from. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has stated that the youngsters and fringe players would get more exposure in this one, but he definitely won’t be taking things lightly. Considering their troubles in the Premier League, he’s recently indicated that his side will be gunning for winning the whole thing.
The travel is going to be extremely long and exhausting for the Red Devils, especially that to Kazakhstan where they’ll be facing Astana. Considering that a trip to Manchester to Kazakhstan alone is more than Arsenal or Rangers total travel time, the journey itself is a daunting challenge. AZ Alkmaar should also pose a unique threat while travelling to Serbia for Nemanja Matic’s homecoming at FC Partizan isn’t a piece of cake either.
#UEL Group L
Winners here? ???? pic.twitter.com/Pt3ud61OPW
— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) August 30, 2019
However, regardless, the Red Devils should sail their way into winning the group and are the favourites with 888 betting and other bookmakers to qualify for the knockout stages. That will be only the first of many hurdles to come through the next couple of months. The level of competition should naturally grow more difficult with each passing stage, but the Red Devils probably won’t be meeting a top side until the round of 16 at least.
Mason Greenwood is expected to feature heavily in this competition to showcase his ruthless goal-scoring charm against easier opponents. So should wingers Angel Gomes and Tahith Chong, both proving their blooming abilities in the pre-season campaign. Axel Tuanzebe hailed as the future of the club by his manager, will also face his toughest tasks yet with the gruelling tasks. Giving these youngsters exposure would accelerate their evolution rate into regulars shortly.
Sergio Romero will also appear heavily in the tournament after his heroics for United in their title-winning campaign in the 2016-17 season. Of course, Solskjaer will play his biggest assets when the competition-level gradually grows higher. Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial, Harry Maguire will all be key towards thwarting any elite opposition in the knockout stages.
Considering their quality at disposal, United should at least progress into the semi-finals. They are also favourites to win the whole thing, but with Arsenal giving a heavy fight and some big-sides expected to slide down from the Champions League, they must maintain their A-game throughout the next eight months to hand Solskjaer his first trophy as United manager.