Manchester United’s hopes of finishing in the top four in the Premier League took a major blow on Sunday as their 25 game unbeaten record came to an abrupt end at the hands of Arsenal. Two goals in quick succession in the second half gave Arsenal the advantage as they went on to win the game 2-0. It looks as if United will now be relying on winning the Europa League in order to qualify for the Champions League next season.
Mourinho before the game said that he was already prioritising the Europa League, as winning the two remaining fixtures is an easier path than winning the four remaining Premier League games. Failure in the Europa League will most likely mean no Champions League football again for the club next season.
The campaign continues on Thursday night with the second leg of the semi-final taking center stage at Old Trafford. United take a 1-0 advantage into the game and will be looking to kill off the tie as early as possible before any sense of doubt can creep into the stadium. The Reds are currently priced as short as 1/10 to qualify, but Mourinho will not be taking anything for granted until the tie is done and dusted.
In the first leg, United dominated for the majority of the game. However, this was the case in the quarter finals against Anderlecht and they were forced into extra time. They will be looking to win the fixture and not let the game hang in the balance as a draw for a long period. United are priced at 11/20 to get the win on the night in 90 minutes. Celta Vigo are 5/1 to win in 90 minutes and the draw can be backed at 3/1.
A clean sheet could be paramount in Manchester United making it to the Europa League final. Fortunately, Phil Jones and Chris Smalling have both returned from injury and featured at the weekend. It is likely that Sergio Romero will be keeping his place as the Europa League number 1 as he has impressed thus far in the competition. Paul Pogba was also left out of the side on Sunday and is likely to feature on Thursday night.
If Manchester United progress to the final it is likely that they will be coming up against Ajax, who take a 4-1 advantage to Lyon on Thursday night. United will be favourites regardless of opposition in the final, and they are priced at 29/50 to lift the trophy. Ajax can be backed at 9/4, with Celta Vigo and Lyon the outsiders priced at 11/1 and 14/1 respectively.
(Prices From Bet on Brazil – odds may fluctuate)