Fenerbahce vs Manchester United: Match preview and predicted line-ups
Manchester United desperately need a win to return to form and they have an opportunity to gain confidence in their Europa League tie against Fenerbahce. Jose Mourinho has said in recent days that the Europa League is a target, despite writing off Chelsea’s triumph in the competition after returning to Stamford Bridge in 2013. The rules have now changed and it could provide a good opportunity for Manchester United to qualify for the Champions League, especially if their league form doesn’t drastically improve over the coming months.
It won’t be an easy match for Manchester United, as they will be playing in a fierce atmosphere against a side that will be motivated to heap more misery on their Premier League opponents. United actually lost their last match away to Fenerbahce, but that defeat came over ten years ago during the 2004/5 season. They will be aware of the threat posed by Fenerbahce, especially their former player Robin van Persie who netted in the match at Old Trafford two weeks ago.
Group A is tight at the moment, with just two points separating the top three and a defeat on Thursday will see Manchester United leapfrogged by their Turkish opposition. Although it is only the Europa League, it is important that the Mourinho doesn’t suffer another defeat as the pressure is already starting to build at Old Trafford. This was always going to be a difficult job for him, but it is important that Mourinho proves to the world that he is still able to manage at the highest level. That needs to start with a win against Fenerbahce.
Manchester United didn’t manage to win a Premier League match in October and only scored one goal in four league fixtures. They have struggled to hit first gear since the appointment of Jose Mourinho and that will concern United supporters. It is important that they put their horrific October form behind them and put together a string of victories ahead of the Christmas period.
Although Fenerbahce have been difficult to beat over the last two months, they are only 5th in the Turkish league. Their loss against Manchester United in the reverse fixture was their only defeat since the 11th September. They have struggled to score goals, but managed to find the back of the net on five occasions last weekend.
It is difficult to predict Manchester United’s team, but Timothy Fosu-Mensah could be set to start. Anthony Martial could also be given the opportunity to impress. Henrikh Mkhitaryan is another Manchester United player that should be given a chance in this match.
Jeremain Lens is set to start for the home side after his excellent performance at the weekend. Other players that will be familiar to English fans are Martin Skrtel and of course Robin van Persie, both of whom are likely to start on Thursday.
Fenerbahce Manchester United
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Phil Jones is in the squad for the first time this season after recovering from his assortment of injury problems. Antonio Valencia will be missing with a fractured arm, while Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay won’t be involved either.
Uygar Zeybek and Ozan Tufan will both miss the match against Manchester United and are unlikely to feature again until 2017. Fernandao and Gregory van der Wiel are both doubts for Thursday.
It is difficult to give a prediction of this match without seeing the line-ups, but a draw looks to be the most likely result. Manchester United have struggled for form and won’t be at their best in Turkey, especially as several changes are likely. Fenerbahce are a team with a lot of experience in Europe and they have players that can cause United problems. The appointment of Dick Advocaat means that they have a good manager at the helm and they will be up for the visit of Manchester United. I expect the match to end level.
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