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Manchester United vs Real Betis Preview – Prediction, how to watch & potential line-ups

Manchester United vs Real Betis Match Preview

Fresh off Sunday’s mauling at Merseyside, Manchester United return to action this week as they face Real Betis in the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie at Old Trafford on Thursday.

After ending United’s six-year wait for silverware in his debut campaign, a mortified Erik ten Hag watched on as his Red Devils suffered their worst defeat in Premier League history at the hands of their biggest rivals, Liverpool.

Cody Gakpo, Mohamed Salah and Darwin Nunez grabbed a brace before Roberto Firmino came off the bench to complete the historic seven-goal rout at Anfield, ending United’s 11-match unbeaten run.

United’s previous rampant form saw them creep up on Arsenal and Manchester City at the top of the Premier League table. But after being exposed as title pretenders at the weekend, it is back to the drawing board for Ten Hag’s side.

With any notion of an improbable quadruple now squashed, United could take another huge stride towards a potential treble as they seek an immediate response by overcoming their Spanish counterparts at the Theatre of Dreams.

A familiar face in Manuel Pellegrini can expect a hostile welcome when he emerges from the Old Trafford tunnel. The ex-Manchester City boss will return to Manchester with his side hitting form at the right time.

Following a trio of successive victories against UD Almeria, Real Valladolid and Elche, during which they scored eight goals and conceded five, Betis held reigning Spanish and European champions Real Madrid to a goalless draw at the weekend. 

A near-perfect Europa League group stage for Los Verdiblancos saw them win five games and draw one while conceding just four goals en route to a first-place finish. They only dropped points in a 1-1 draw against AS Roma. 

Thursday’s match will be the first-ever competitive meeting between United and Betis. Pellegrini’s side will be the 12th different Spanish side the Red Devils have faced in major European competition – the most from a single nation.

Match Preview

Manchester United

A second-placed finish to Real Sociedad in the group stage forced United into a tricky clash with Barcelona. After a 2-2 draw in the first encounter, a well-deserved 2-1 second-leg win was enough to catapult the Red Devils into the last 16. 

Needing a quick response to get back in the good graces of the fans, United can take solace in the fact that they have not lost the first leg of any of their last eight European knockout games (W4, D4).

Before the Anfield drubbing, Ten Hag’s side had scored at least twice in 12 successive games in all competitions. They have also scored at least twice in their last 14 games at Old Trafford, and avoiding defeat here will extend their unbeaten home run to 20 games.

Real Betis

If Betis somehow manage to overcome United over the two-legged affair, they could progress beyond the last-16 of the Europa League for the first time ever.

They lost to eventual winners Eintracht Frankfurt at this stage last season, but Pellegrini’s side travel to Old Trafford, having lost just two of their last 12 away games in all tournaments (W8, D2).

Betis have lost four of their previous six European games against English opponents (W1, D1), and although wounded from their previous humiliating defeat, United should not prove easy pickings at their fortress.

Los Verdiblancos have won just one of their last seven knockout matches in the Europa League (D3, L3). However, their only three knockout wins in the competition have all come away from home.

Pellegrini has faced United four times in European competitions, with all four games ending goalless in the Champions League group stages in 2005/06 and 2008/09 when he was Villarreal’s manager.

Manchester United vs Real Betis Potential Line-ups

Manchester United (4-2-3-1): David De Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martinez, Tyrell Malacia; Marcel Sabitzer, Scott McTominay; Jadon Sancho, Bruno Fernandes, Alejandro Garnacho; Marcus Rashford.

Real Betis (4-2-3-1): Claudio Bravo; Youssouf Sabaly, Luiz Felipe, German Pezzella, Juan Miranda; William Carvalho, Guido Rodriguez; Sergio Canales, Rodri Sanchez, Ayoze Perez; Borja Iglesias.

How to Watch?

Man United vs Betis, alongside all other Europa League matches this season, is available to watch online via Europa League live streams.

Manchester United vs Real Betis Prediction

A rattled United will be looking to return to winning ways in front of their fans against a Betis side infamous for their inability to keep things tight at the back.

Pellegrini’s side are poised to play front-foot football and can be expected to trouble Ten Hag’s backline, but we expect the Red Devils to etch a slender first-leg advantage over the Spaniards.

Manchester United 2-1 Real Betis

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