If you’re wondering who is going to be in the Manchester United starting XI tonight when they take on Real Betis in the UEFA Europa League, well it appears that manager Erik ten Hag has revealed a couple of them. Despite United being up 4-1 on aggregate, and all but certain to progress through to the quarterfinals, Ten Hag said midfielders Casemiro and Bruno Fernandes will feature.
They will play despite the risk of yellow card accumulation, and thus suspension occurring for both.
Manchester United at Real Betis FYIs
Kick: Thurs, March 16, 5:45 pm, Benito Villamarín Stadium
Competition: UEFA Europa League Round of 16, Leg 2/2, United leads 4-1 on aggregate
Man United Team News: go here
United Starting XI Prediction: go here
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Fun Fact: this is Real Betis’ first home European game against an English club since Nov. 2005
Stat Pack: including this match, five of United’s last seven road European clashes have been in Spain.
“They will play both because it’s a very good opponent,” Ten Hag said to the media yesterday. “Last week we had a good result but you need your best players, we need a result, we need a win.”
Despite being able to enter this match on cruise control, Ten Hag is not really one to ease off the gas. He likes to go close to full bore almost all the time. So that explains the inclusion of Bruno Fernandes.
The rationale for playing Casemiro is much more simple. Given that he’s facing a four match ban now domestically, this is the only competition that he’s eligible to feature in until mid-April.
He definitely should play here in order to stay fresh, not get rusty, and give a rest to the other holding midfielders who be playing in his stead on the domestic front.
Paul M. Banks is the owner/manager of The Sports Bank. He’s also the author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” and “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”
He’s written for numerous publications, including the New York Daily News, Sports Illustrated and the Chicago Tribune. He regularly appears on NTD News and WGN News Now. Follow the website on Twitter and Instagram.
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