Tomorrow night a clash between two European giants takes place in the Europa League round of 16 as Manchester United take on AC Milan at Old Trafford.
Here is all you need to know before the game gets underway:
Stories So Far
The hosts, Manchester United, were of course originally in the Champions League but crashed out following a disappointing 3-2 defeat in early December. That put them in the Europa League where they drew Real Sociedad in the round of 32. An emphatic 4-0 win in the first leg before a 0-0 draw in the second leg meant Manchester United went through to the next round.Embed from Getty Images
AC Milan in comparison were in this competition from the beginning. In the group stage they were drawn in Group H and managed to finish in first place – getting the better of Lille, Sparta Prague and Celtic – managing four wins, one draw and one defeat. In the round of 32 however they had to rely on the away goals rule to make it past Red Star Belgrade following a 2-2 draw in the first leg and a 1-1 draw in the second.
In their respective leagues, with their last game played, both sides got the better of their opponents with 2-0 wins. Manchester United triumphing over city rivals Manchester City and AC Milan beating Verona. Both sides also sit second in their leagues so this could be a very interesting fixture.
These two historic clubs have come up against each other on 10 separate occasions. With both clubs winning five each. It could make for a very entertaining game with no draws between these two – this says a lot about the fixture with both clubs almost certain to go for it.
The last time they played one another was around 10 years ago. The game took place in the Champions League round of 16 and after a 3-2 United win in the first leg we were set up for a very interesting game. The second leg saw United blow Milan away with a 4-0 win. David Beckham’s return to Old Trafford. A brace for Wayne Rooney before Ji-Sung Park and Darren Fletcher finished the tie off – a 7-2 Manchester United aggregate win.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United come into this one with plenty to talk about in terms of their team. They are expected to miss up to seven players for a mix of reasons. Marcus Rashford limped off during the game against Manchester City on Sunday so he is expected to miss out on this one.Embed from Getty Images
Edinson Cavani is also a doubt after he missed the game at the weekend after picking up a knock in training. Donny Van de Beek hasn’t featured in the last five games for United after an injury but he might be available for the game against Milan. Although once again it is a doubt.
Three players are almost guaranteed to miss out though with Paul Pogba, Juan Mata and Phil Jones all still on the United injury list.
Finally it is expected that David De Gea will miss out again with him still being in Spain with his family following the birth of his child.
As for AC Milan they are expected to be missing out on many of their players. A possible return to Old Trafford for Zlatan Ibrahimović has been scrapped with the striker not being in the travelling squad. He has been a doubt for a couple of weeks now but this has guaranteed that he won’t be available for selection.Embed from Getty Images
This just adds to the list of fairly big named players that will not feature. Ismael Bennacer, Hakan Çalhanoğlu, Theo Hernandez and Ante Rebic are all not travelling with the squad, again due to injuries they have sustained in previous fixtures.
Finally, the AC Milan website has confirmed that Mario Mandzukic is also unavailable in this one. The Milan attacking options have been greatly affected by this with only two attacking options confirmed to be available for the game: Rafael Leao and Riccardo Tonin.
Manchester United (4-3-2-1): Dean Henderson, Alex Telles, Harry Maguire, Eric Bailly, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Scott McTominay, Fred, Mason Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Daniel James, Anthony Martial
In my opinion, United will make three changes from the game against Manchester City with Rashford, Luke Shaw and Victor Lindelöf all being replaced with Greenwood, Telles and Bailly. Two changes from their last Europa League side with Nemanja Matic, and Lindelöf missing out.Embed from Getty Images
AC Milan (4-2-3-1): Gianluigi Donnarumma, Davide Calabria, Fikayo Tomori, Alessio Romagnoli, Diogo Dalot, Franck Kessie, Soualiho Meite, Rade Krunic, Alexis Saelemaekers, Samu Castillejo, Rafael Leao
No changes from the side that beat Verona or the team that drew 1-1 with Red Star Belgrade. A strong eleven that could see improvements if not for injury. Diogo Dalot returning to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club on loan in the summer. He is eligible to play despite United being his parent club so it will make for an interesting watch.Embed from Getty Images
Manchester United 2 – 0 AC Milan
For me, Manchester United will edge this one in a closely fought affair. United come into this game probably the more confident after the brilliant victory against Manchester City on Sunday and while Milan will be confident they have proven to be more inconsistent without their big name players.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has proven defensively his side are capable of keeping clean sheets and can also score goals. I feel as though it may be just too much for Stefano Pioli’s Milan side.Embed from Getty Images
We are bound to see an interesting game as these two giants face off for the first time in a while. With a place in the next round up for grabs it is a game that you really can’t miss. The game takes place on Thursday with kick off at 17:55.
For more from all sports though click here.