Manchester United’s pursuit of the top place in Europa League Group E continues on Thursday as they take on Sheriff Tiraspol at Old Trafford.
Following Scott McTominay’s last-gasp heroics in a 1-0 home victory over Omonia Nicosia in the previous Europa League round, Erik ten Hag’s men have alternated between drawing and winning in their three Premier League games (W1, D2).
Casemiro could not have timed his breakthrough Premier League goal any better as his 94th-minute header rescued a 1-1 draw away to Chelsea last weekend, stretching Man Utd’s unbeaten run to six matches (W4, D2).
Back to the Europa League, where they are on the verge of claiming a top-two finish in Group E after winning three consecutive fixtures, the Red Devils take on a Sheriff side they defeated 2-0 in Tiraspol in mid-September.
While a point from this penultimate Europa League group stage encounter would suffice for United’s bid to advance to the knock-out stages, there’s no doubt they’d settle for anything but a top-place finish.
However, after succumbing to a 1-0 home loss to group leaders Real Sociedad on day one, Man Utd must at least match the Basque side’s result this midweek and then oust them in Spain on the final matchday.
On the other hand, Sheriff can still qualify for the play-off round in theory, but it would take nothing short of a miracle to leapfrog the Premier League heavyweights.
Since beating Omonia 3-0 in their curtain-raising Group E outing, the Moldovan champions have lost three Europa League contests on the spin and currently trail United by six points.
The Europa League suits Man Utd, especially when they play at Old Trafford, as witnessed by their jaw-dropping run of one defeat across their last 20 home matches in the competition (W15, D4).
Moreover, ten Hag has tightened up the Red Devils’ backline, with Lisandro Martinez and his defensive teammates going three successive competitive home games without conceding (W2, D1).
An injury Raphael Varane picked up against Chelsea at the weekend has inflicted a massive blow on United’s effort to plug their defensive holes, yet it shouldn’t affect their case against Sheriff.
Though their chances of beating Man Utd in the top-two run-in are far-fetched, Sheriff could extend their European campaign by switching over to the Europa Conference League knock-outs.
With six points left to play for, the Yellow Blacks boast a three-point lead on basement boys Omonia and could seal the deal by pulling off an upset at Old Trafford.
However, the prospects of becoming the first-ever Moldovan side to come out victorious against English counterparts in European football are stretched as Stjepan Tomas’ men haven’t scored in three straight Europa League outings.
Manchester United vs Sheriff Tiraspol Potential Line-ups
Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Diogo Dalot, Victor Lindelof, Lisandro Martinez, Luke Shaw; Casemiro, Christian Eriksen; Antony, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho; Marcus Rashford.
Sheriff Tiraspol (3-4-3): Dumitru Celeadnic; Gaby Kiki, Stjepan Radeljic, Patrick Kpozo; Renan Guedes, Cedric Badolo, Salifu Mudasiru, Heron; Rasheed Akanbi, Felipe Vizeu, Iyayi Atiemwen.
How to Watch?
Man Utd vs Sheriff , alongside all other Red Devils’ competitive fixtures this season, is available to watch online via Manchester United live streams.
Manchester United vs Sheriff Tiraspol Prediction
With Cristiano Ronaldo seemingly on his way out of the club after falling out of favour with ten Hag, Man Utd will be looking to prove that this setback has not dampened their enthusiasm.
And we expect Ronaldo’s heir Marcus Rashford to lead the charge with authority in what should be a landslide victory for the Red Devils.
Manchester United 3-0 Sheriff Tiraspol
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