Born in the south east of Ireland, Simon put his life-long love of football to good use when he started a successful independent blog in 2010. That opened up an alternative route to a career in journalism, and having had work published across a number of sites and publications, Simon joined the staff at Spotlight Sports Group in 2018.
Having secured a third place Premier League finish last month, Manchester United turn their attentions to their continental endeavours this week with the return of the Europa League.
United – the bookmakers’ favourites to lift the trophy on August 21 – welcome Austrian outfit LASK Linz to Old Trafford on Wednesday evening, and though the outcome of the team’s Last 16 double-header has already been decided, there is still plenty to look forward to at the Theatre of Dreams.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer chose to rest several key first team players when United travelled to the Linzer Stadion on March 23 to contest the first leg, though the Red Devils still had enough quality in reserve to blast their way to a 5-0 win.
The Norwegian coach is certain to ring the changes again for the tie’s climactic game, but with young and fringe players keen to impress, the second-leg dead rubber still has the potential to be an exciting affair.
Ahead of the action, we’ve put together a tasty looking five-part #OOT selection with Betfair for the game that comes in at a 19/1.
Before we jump into our Odds on That selections below, make sure to check out our more detailed Manchester United vs LASK predictions here for further analysis.
What is Betfair’s #OddsOnThat?
Betfair’s #OddsOnThat feature allows you create a customised multiples bet based on your own unique picks ahead of a particular football match. You can choose from a huge variety of markets and once you have decided on your selection, you can request a price for your acca from Betfair on Twitter using the #OddsOnThat hashtag.
Want to add FST’s 19/1 selection straight to your betslip? Check it out below:
Manchester United vs LASK #OOT
Man Utd to win
Plenty of Man Utd back-up squad members saw minutes in the club’s massive 5-0 first leg victory over LASK, and with many of the same faces set to feature in Wednesday’s return fixture, another Red Devils victory looks certain.
United were beaten in just one of their last 22 competitive fixtures of the 2019/20 campaign, and having won four out of four Europa League games at Old Trafford this term without conceding a single goal, the tournament favourites should be able to sweep the Austrians aside again.
LASK finished their domestic season with a worrying six defeats in their final 10 assignments, and with their confidence at a low ebb, another loss for Valérien Ismaël’s side looks likely.
Man Utd to score in each half
Manchester United’s superb attacking play since the resumption of play in June has won plenty of admirers, and the quality of their football in the final third cranked up a few notches, they should find plenty of joy again against a porous looking LASK rearguard.
United rattled home 24 goals in their final 11 matches of the campaign, hitting the net three or more times in four separate occasions during that impressive goal-getting streak.
Their forward play had displayed promising signs before the enforced break too, especially in the Europe League, where United hit five goals in successive games against Club Brugge and LASK.
United found the net either side of the half time interval in each of those wide-margin victories, and we expect them to enjoy similar success in each period on Wednesday evening.
Odion Ighalo to score anytime
With five goals in four starts in cup competitions for Manchester United this season, on-loan centre-forward Odion Ighalo has been making the most of the chances given to him by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
While Premier League appearances have been fleeting, Ighalo has led the line brilliantly in lower priority competitions for United, and the Nigerian international will be aiming to add to his two-goal haul in the Europa League this week.
Ighalo opened the scoring for United with a sensational left-footed finish in the Premier League giant’s Last 16 first leg clash with LASK in March, and the 31-year-old will back himself to get among the goals again when the teams renew acquaintances this week.
Petar Filipovic carded
With three yellow cards in eight Europa League appearances, German centre-half Petar Filipovic has been LASK’s most prolific offender this season.
The 29-year-old, who is often deployed as the furthest left member of a central defensive trio, has collected 11 cards in total this term, and in a team that are relatively well behaved overall, Filipovic stands apart as their chief hatchetman.
The 6’2” defender is certain to have a heavy defensive workload at Old Trafford this week, and we think Filipovic is a prime candidate to land himself in trouble with the officials again.
Under 9.5 total corners
While United have been clocking up the Europa League wins at Old Trafford with comfort this season, they have been posting relatively modest numbers when it comes to corner kicks.
In their trio of successive home victories against Partizan, AZ and Club Brugge, United plundered a whopping 12 goals, though they won just 5.33 corner kicks on average per 90 minutes.
During their meaty 5-0 win at LASK in March, United racked up another modest corner count, winning just five overall against the Austrians despite dominating the contest from start to finish.
In total, just nine corners were awarded to both teams combined on that one-sided evening at the Linzer Stadion, and we expect the clubs’ rematch to be similarly low on that particular set-piece.
It’s also worth noting that the four teams that have visited the Theatre of Dreams already this season in the Europa League left with just seven corners between them.
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