Roma vs Manchester United | Thursday 6th May 2021, 20:00 | BT Sport
Ole Gunnar Solskajer and his Manchester United side are just 90 minutes away from a European Cup final and with a four-goal cushion to boot.
The Red Devils travel to the Italian Capital knowing that bar any catastrophic turnaround, they will be playing in the final in Gdansk on the 26th of May.
Thursday night's hosts are in complete disarray at the minute and they probably cannot wait for the season to end. The embarrassing 6-2 hammering in the first-leg was sandwiched in between losses to relegation candidates Cagliari and mid-table side Sampdoria.
To make things even more interesting, it was announced that manager Fonseca would be leaving his post as first-team manager to make way for the arrival of Jose Mourinho. Add in to the mix that they have a number of injuries to key players and it makes for grim viewing.
Overturning a four goal deficit is a gargantuan task at the best of times, but when you know your manager is leaving and you can’t rely on some important players, that gargantuan task becomes nearly impossible.
United would be forgiven for already having their focus on the final against Either Villarreal or Arsenal, but they’ll know they just need to manage the 90 minutes against Roma who will surely just be playing for pride.
Their league game against Liverpool was postponed due to protests from the fans against the Glazer ownership and as a result, by the time they face AS Roma, they will have had a week's rest.
● Need to score four goals minimum to stand a chance of causing an upset here.
● Are the second most fouled side per game of the sides left in the competition (11).
● Were fouled 13 times in the first-leg at Old Trafford.
● Have been fouled at least 12 times in 10/13 UEL matches this season.
● Antonio Mirante replaced Lopez in goal last week and made an error for one of United's goals, while Daniel Fuzato made his first start of the season in goal at the weekend and also made an error leading to an opposition goal. Not great heading into Thursday.
● Roma have recovered Gianluci Mancini from suspension if Paulo Fonseca wants to make changes from a side that shipped six goals last time out.
● Have won every away UEL match this season and have kept a clean sheet in each of those.
● Will be able to relax somewhat in this one and the tie is set up perfectly for the counter-attack.
● Have committed 12+ fouls in 10/13 of their european games this season.
● Will not want to give Roma any motivation and will look to break up any attacking momentum. Players such as Matic are expected to return and he is a master of the tactical foul.
● Manchester United's game with Liverpool on Sunday was postponed so Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's players have actually had a full week off.
● With a 6-2 advantage from the first-leg, Solskjaer may opt to play some of his fringe players but will no doubt still go with a very strong side to avoid any humiliation with a place in the final at stake.
● Nemanja Matic, Eric Bailly, Alex Telles, Donny van de Beek and Mason Greenwood stand the best chance of starting from those that didn't start the first leg in Manchester.
Referee: Dr. Felix Brych
● Awarding an average of 4.14 yellow cards per game in European Cup competitions this season.
● Awarding an average of 23 fouls per game in European Cup competitions this season.
My first pick is simply for United to cover the -0.5 asian handicap.
Roma are in complete disarray at the moment, are missing a number of key players and it has just been announced that their manager Paulo Fonseca will be departing at the end of the season to make way for Jose Mourinho.
We’ve seen a lot of instances where managerial changes being announced during the season has caused the sides concerned to slip up and be very unimpressive. In Roma’s case you can combine that with the fact they have a four goal deficit to overturn!
United have won every away UEL fixture this season and have kept clean sheets in the process.
Solskjaer will most likely elect to play a strong lineup considering they’ve had a week off and this is a chance to take a step closer to silverware and get the proverbial semi-final monkey off of their backs. I do expect Roma to try and restore some pride but as a result, they’ll leave themselves open for the counter – an area which United can be devastating from.
With this in mind, I'm going to have a small punt on United to win to nil, a pick that has won in United's last three away UEL matches.
My other pick is for United to commit 12+ fouls. I like this one purely because I think it is overpriced and should be closer to 1.8 than evens.
The Red Devils have committed 12+ fouls in 10/13 of their european games this season and will be away to a side who will look to, as previously mentioned, restore some pride. With a place in the final at stake and a referee who takes no nonsense, i think it’s very likely that Roma try and gain any kind of advantage they can and will win a lot of free-kicks.