Manchester United defeated Real Betis 4-1 six days ago, in the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 and are now inching closer to the next stage of the competition. The return leg on Thursday should not be too big of a trouble for the Devils, but still, here is what you need to know ahead of another trip to Spain for Erik Ten Hag’s team.
Real Betis will have their troubles with the players at disposal. Centre-back Luiz Felipe did play the full 90 minutes at Old Trafford, but injured his hamstring in the end and will be expected to miss the second leg. Nabil Fekir is an important player of theirs, but due to long-term injury, he will once again be away from the team, as well as Juan Cruz. The good news for Betis is that William Carvalho is back in the team.
As for Manchester United, the usual problems are still there – Donny van de Beek and Christian Eriksen are long-term injuries and both are still far from returning. Alejandro Garnacho is the latest bad news for Erik Ten Hag, as he left the Southampton match on crutches and his ankle problem could be worse than initially feared. Victor Lindelof is ill and Marcel Sabitzer has a knock problem, so it remains to be seen what will be the situation before the match in that regard. However, Anthony Martial is building back his fitness and could get some playing time in Seville.
Manchester United won five of their last seven matches and lost only one in the process, but still, it would not be right to say that the Devils are in their best form. It is because two of those seven matches they did not win came in the last 10 days, and both in unexpected fashion. First, there was the 7-0 loss at Anfield against Liverpool, and last weekend there was the 0-0 at Old Trafford against the worst Premier League team this season, Southampton. The good news are that Ten Hag’s side defeated Real Betis in between those two matches, and that 4-1 win from Manchester should be a huge enough lead ahead of the return match in Seville.
Betis, on the other hand, are could be said to be in a good moment in La Liga, despite not winning either of their last two matches. After consecutive wins against Almeria, Valladolid and Elche, they drew 0-0 against Real Madrid at home, before getting a draw (1-1) away at Villarreal. That is why they are currently in fifth and just three points behind Real Sociedad in their race for Champions League qualification. As much as the 4-1 loss to United hurt them, it could be a blessing in disguise for the green-and-white if they manage to qualify for the Champions League, focusing after this coming match solely on La Liga.
Considering everything, it is easy to predict Manchester United will go through to the quarterfinals of the Europa League. We predict Man United and Betis will get a 1-1 draw, hopefully with the visitors not spending too much energy on this encounter.