OLD Trafford is the venue on Thursday night as Manchester United host Feyenoord in the Europa League. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) offers his view.
Manchester United v Feyenoord | Thursday 20:05 | BT Sport 2
Matchday 5 of the Europa League and the pressure is on Manchester United as they bid to find a route through to the Last 32 of this competition. Up against them on Thursday are second place Feyenoord and this feels like a must-win for the English club.
In third place in the group, failure to take three points here would leave United requiring a win in Ukraine in two weeks time to stay in the competition.
Strong home form
While it’s been a turbulent season for Jose Mourinho’s side they have preserved the strong home form that was a trademark of the oft-mocked Louis Van Gaal regime.
United have played nine times at Old Trafford this season and have lost just once. Unfortunately for them it came against Man City in September and does seem to have had a unbalancing effect on them.
It is of concern that three of their last five home games have ended in a draw but all three performances deserved more returns (Stoke, Burnley and Arsenal).
Saturday’s performance against Arsenal perhaps pointed to a brighter future but their opponents hardly showed their hand and lacked real competitive spirit.
Feyenoord have yet to win on their travels in this competition and but both encounters were close matches. First up they lost narrowly in Turkey to Fenerbahce and from there secured a draw in Ukraine against Zorya.
After Saturday’s positive performance and the likely inclusion of Henrik Mkhitaryan there’s certainly temptation to make a strong case for the home side but the prices simply rule that possibility out.
The English side are no bigger than 4/11 here and it’s not a price I like at all. Feyenoord sit top of the Dutch league with just one loss in 13 and are above Manchester United in this group yet find themselves as big as 11/1 to oblige.
I had a look at Feyenoord +1.5 but have decided to dabble in a market I rarely court – Half-Time/Full-Time.
You’ll recall last season how United had a long streak of home matches that were 0-0 at half-time? Well, the pattern is beginning to reemerge. Indeed five of the last six games at Old Trafford saw the first half fail to produce a goal.
Ultimately I think the home side will win this game but at 4/11 they make no appeal. Therefore value lies with the away side and a less emphatic performance than the odds suggest so Draw/Manchester United at 16/5 with BetVictor suits me on that basis and on the stats.
Manchester United v Feyenoord – Draw/Manchester United (16/5 BetVictor)