Real Betis welcomes Manchester United to the Benito Villamarin Stadium for the second leg of the last-16 on Thursday, knowing that anything less than a miracle will keep them alive in the Europa League.
Ayoze Perez’s impressive strike briefly reignited Betis’ hopes of a comeback upon his return to English soil. Still, ultimately, Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester comeback proved to be a disappointing affair.
The former Manchester City manager’s men could not withstand the second-half assault from the home team and succumbed to a defeat at Old Trafford.
This loss came after two back-to-back draws for Los Verdiblancos in La Liga against Real Madrid and Villarreal.
Despite being pegged back by Yeremy in a 1-1 draw with Villarreal over the weekend, Betis remains in a respectable fifth position in the league table, just three points behind Real Sociedad, who are currently going through a difficult patch.
In the current format of the Europa League, Betis has never progressed beyond the last 16, and their recent home form has also been poor, with only one win in their previous seven matches.
Real Betis Form (All Competition): W W D L D
The past week has been a rollercoaster ride for Manchester United fans, who experienced various emotions. The team’s tumultuous period continued with a high-intensity goalless draw against Southampton, where the goalkeepers and woodwork were the show’s stars.
Despite any hopes of Ten Hag’s side challenging for a spot in the top two of the Premier League table fading away, they still have a chance for further knockout success.
It is worth noting that Man United have never been eliminated from the last 16 of the Europa League when they have won the first leg.
However, the team’s recent away form could have been better, with just two wins from their last six away games. Nevertheless, Man United has gone unbeaten in their previous four trips to Spain and must avoid a catastrophic collapse to secure a spot in the quarter-finals.
Man United Form (All Competition): W W L W D
Centre-back Luiz Felipe played the entire 90 minutes of the game against United but had to leave the field due to hamstring discomfort, which could result in his absence from the team until after the international break.
Luiz Felipe is one of the three players who will miss Thursday’s game. Nabil Fekir, suffering from a long-term knee injury, will not play again this season, while Juan Cruz will also be absent.
However, William Carvalho is set to return to the squad after serving his La Liga ban.
Ten Hag is facing several injury concerns ahead of the upcoming game. The team knows that Anthony Martial, Donny van de Beek, and Christian Eriksen will be missing from the game due to injuries.
Adding to the injury list is Alejandro Garnacho, who left Old Trafford on crutches over the weekend. The teenager is set to be out of action for a few weeks at the very least.
Furthermore, Antony is currently ill, which could also impact his availability for the game.
However, there is some good news for the team as Victor Lindelof, recently out due to illness, is expected to return for the game. Marcel Sabitzer, suffering from a knock, is also back in the squad.
Real Betis’ predicted starting lineup:
Bravo; Sabaly, Pezzella, Ruiz, Miranda; Carvalho, Rodriguez; Canales, Perez, Juanmi; Iglesias
Manchester United’s predicted starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Varane, Maguire, Malacia; Casemiro, Sabitzer; Sancho, Fernandes, Elanga; Rashford
Head to Head
The history between the two teams is brief, with only one meeting in the past.
The encounter occurred during the first leg of the draw, with Manchester United emerging victorious with a comfortable 4-1 win over their opponents.
Time, Date & Venue
Date: Wednesday, March 16
Time: 05:45 pm, GMT
Venue: Estadio Benito Villamarin, Seville
Manchester United, who currently have a comfortable three-goal lead in defending, are unlikely to adopt an overly attacking approach in the upcoming second leg of the competition.