Feyenoord vs Manchester United: Match preview and predicted line-ups
It isn’t the competition that they will want to be in, but Manchester United start their European campaign on Thursday. Although it is a good tournament, the Europa League doesn’t get interesting in many people’s opinion until the knockout stages. The majority of big sides heavily rotate beforehand and that is likely to be the case for United this week.
They are coming up against the side that is currently sitting top of the Eredivisie in Feyenoord. It will not be an easy game, but Manchester United will be expecting to take the three points. The competition is a good opportunity to give their fringe players some action, as the likes of Morgan Schneiderlin, Chris Smalling and Memphis Depay have played minor roles to date.
If Mourinho offers a clear route to the first team through impressing in the Europa League, the players will be motivated and United could go deep into the competition.
Their opponents are a good, young side and will be eager to test themselves against one of the biggest clubs in Europe. To date, Feyenoord have won every league game and will be approaching the match against their more illustrious opposition with confidence. There will be a few familiar names to English football fans, with Dirk Kuyt, Brad Jones and Steven Berghuis all in the Dutch club’s squad.
Manchester United have started the season in good form, but are coming into this match off the back of a derby defeat. For that reason, Mourinho could place greater importance on this fixture, as it is important to return to winning ways as soon as possible, regardless of the competition.
Feyenoord are the pace-setters in the Eredivisie, winning their opening five matches. They have an excellent attack, managing to score 15 during that period. Dirk Kuyt has three to his name and has fond memories against United. The highlight being the hat-trick he scored against the Red Devils in 2011. He will be eager to put in a similarly impressive performance on Thursday.
I expect the home side to play a full strength side and try to record a historic win over Manchester United, giving them the perfect start to their Europa League campaign. Dirk Kuyt is likely to start in central midfield. The two players to watch out for are Tonny Vilhena and Nicolai Jorgensen, both are huge talents.
I expect several changes for Manchester United, with Marcus Rashford being given the opportunity to lead the line after making a hugely impressive impact against their city rivals. Chris Smalling, Matteo Darmian, Michael Carrick, Morgan Schneiderlin, Juan Mata and Memphis Depay are all set to start. Sergio Romero could start ahead of David de Gea.
Feyenoord Manchester United
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Their first two choice keepers Warner Hahn and Kenneth Vermeer are both injured, which means that Brad Jones will continue to deputise. Eljero Elia is unlikely to feature, while Sven van Beek is also set to miss out.
Luke Shaw will be missing for the game with a minor hamstring injury. This will give Marcos Rojo a chance to impress at left-back.
This is an impossible match to predict as there are a lot of unknowns regarding Manchester United’s team selection. Feyenoord have started the season in very good form and could even be potential title challengers in the Eredivisie this season. They will be playing their first eleven and the understanding between their players could give them an advantage. De Kuip will be rocking and I expect the home side to come out with at least a draw.
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