MANCHESTER UNITED get their Europa League campaign underway on Thursday night against Astana at Old Trafford. Chris Clark (@ChrisClark1975) shares his betting thoughts.
Manchester United v Astana | Thursday 19th September 2019, 20:00 | BT Sport
It will be all change at Old Trafford for the opening night of Manchester United's Europa League campaign. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has already stated that young starlet Mason Greenwood will be starting against Astana, whilst Axel Tuanzebe and Fred will also be drafted in against the Kazakh champions.
On paper this is United's easiest game of the group stages, and there is not much value in the Red Devils to win this game outright, or indeed at half-time or full time. However, the 21/20 price (BetVictor )for United to win ‘to nil’, is certainly worth a look.
The hosts have only given up 17 shots on-target in the Premier League thus far, and their opponents on Thursday night, whilst being plucky, would not be a fixture in the English top-flight. Although Solskjaer will be rotating his side, the replacements are either full internationals or international U21 players.
United are resolute at the back – only giving up four goals in the Premier League, which is the joint best in the league – and should be capable of keeping their sheets clean.
Is there any value Astana-based selections? Well, if they are to score then it's likely to come from their top scorer, Croatian midfielder Marin Tomasov, who has 17 goals in all competitions as their domestic campaign reaches its conclusion.
I wouldn't back him to score, mind, as I can't see United conceding. But he is 5/4 on SkyBet to have at least one shot on-target. However, try as I might to be tempted by Tomasov to force an attempt on-goal, I just can't see Astana really troubling this United defence.
Jesse Lingard is returning from injury in this game, and I think he will have a point to prove. He's had a slow start to the season and has been out with injury over the past few weeks. There has been question marks over his off-field antics, and his actual performances on the pitch. What better way to bounce back then netting and starring against the weakest team in the Europa League group?
Lingard is 47/20 to score anytime on Thursday night with Unibet and I fancy the England international to find plenty of space breaking from midfield, and his movement off the ball will be too much for Astana to handle.