Manchester United are getting ready for their second match in the Europa League and their first after seven days of rest. The last Thursday’s Europa League clash against Real Sociedad was played just hours after learning the news of the death of Her Royal Highness The Queen Elizabeth II, but the Premier League matches the following weekend were all postponed. That was expected to happen, but UEFA is simply working on a different set of rules. This means United are going to Moldova to face Sheriff, in a match which they must win, after the loss against the Spanish side.
There are not many injury concerns for Sheriff Tiraspol. Their goalkeeper Dumitru Celeadnic is expected to miss the game following a positive COVID-19 test, while the others should be ready to play. Man United, on the other hand, are not in such a simple situation. Anthony Martial still has an Achilles problem and he will miss out this match. There are also problems with Donny van de Beek, Facundo Pellistri, Martin Dubravka, Brandon Williams, Marcus Rashford and Aaron Wan-Bissaka, who will all miss this match. This could also happen to Luke Shaw, who could start the match on the bench.
Sheriff are going into this match in a decent form. They have been doing well in the Moldovan championship, but in Europe, things have not been as great as last season. While 12 months ago they were playing in the Champions League and beating the likes of Real Madrid, this year they did not get past the qualifiers. Sheriff were knocked out from the third qualifying round by Viktoria Plzen, before just barely getting past Pyunik from Armenia in the Europa League playoff. Both matches ended 0-0, so Sheriff got through via penalties. Since then, Sheriff drew 1-1 at home with Petrocub, but three more wins since. One of them was the 3-0 victory in the Europa League against Omonia Nicosia, away from home.
As for Man United, this will be their first match since the 1-0 loss to Real Sociedad at home last Thursday. Last weekend, there was no football in the United Kingdom, due to the death of Her Royal Highness The Queen Elizabeth II. All Premier League matches were postponed, thus leaving United a whole week to prepare for this trip to Moldova. While such an unexpected breather could be a good thing in the short-term, it remains to be seen how it will impact them after the World Cup, when that match will have to be played during an insanely packed schedule. United will be looking forward to getting back to winning, after those four consecutive Premier League wins.
Considering everything, our prediction is Manchester United will beat Sheriff 3-0. There is simply so much difference in class and despite the Moldovan champions’ great start with a strong performance against Omonia, this is a completely different thing. Erik ten Hag’s side will probably even play in a somewhat changed starting lineup, but that should not make things much easier for the hosts.