MX23RW : Sunday, March 15 20:30:25| >> :60:2212:2212:
Mar 12, 2020 at 5.55pm UK at Linzer Stadion
Man UtdManchester United
FT(HT: 0-1)
Ighalo (28'), James (58'), Mata (82'), Pereira (90'), Greenwood (90')

Preview: LASK Linz vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg between LASK Linz and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and head-to-head records.

Manchester United will be looking to keep their momentum going when they travel to Austrian side LASK Linz for the first leg of their Europa League last-16 tie on Thursday.

The Red Devils are unbeaten in 10 matches in all competitions ahead of their trip to Linzer Stadion, where they will take on LASK for the first time ever in a competitive match.

Due to the spread of the coronavirus across Europe, it was announced on Tuesday that this game will now be played behind closed doors.

Match preview

Manchester United's Anthony Martial celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates on March 8, 2020© Reuters

United have well and truly turned a corner under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer over the past six weeks, coinciding with the arrivals of January signings Odion Ighalo and Bruno Fernandes.

Not only have both players fitted into the squad seamlessly, particularly in the case of regular starter Fernandes, but they have also managed to improve the performances of those around them.

The Red Devils have won seven matches in their ongoing 10-game unbeaten run, most recently seeing off bitter rivals Manchester City 2-0 on Sunday.

Old Trafford was at its loudest for a number of years as goals from Anthony Martial and Scott McTominay earned United a deserved win that leaves them fifth in the table.

That will be enough for Champions League qualification should City's two-year European ban be upheld, but Solskjaer's men also have another route into UEFA's showpiece competition.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer celebrates their second goal scored by Odion Ighalo on February 27, 2020© Reuters

For that to happen they will have to match their achievement of 2017 by going all the way in the Europa League.

After easing through the group stage and brushing aside Club Brugge 6-1 on aggregate in the first knockout round, United are now the bookies' favourite to win the competition.

Taking that successful run three years ago into account, the Red Devils have lost just one of their last 19 matches in the Europa League, winning 13 of those.

LASK are the side tasked with halting United's recent revival, and they also enter this fixture full of confidence after opening up a six-point lead at the top of the Austrian Bundesliga.

On the continent, meanwhile, the Black-Whites are unbeaten in their last six matches, beating the likes of PSV Eindhoven and AZ already in this season's competition.

LASK Linz's Europa League form: DWWWDW
LASK Linz's form (all competitions): DWWWLW

Manchester United's Europa League form: WWLWDW
Manchester United's form (all competitions): DWWDWW

Team News

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba pictured on December 26, 2019© Reuters

United remain without long-term absentees Marcus Rashford, Paul Pogba and Lee Grant for Thursday's match.

LASK may be unknown opposition in many ways but United fan favourite Fernandes know them well, having scored and assisted against the Austrian outfit for Sporting Lisbon during the group stage.

McTominay, Ighalo and Eric Bailly were all second-half substitutes against Man City at the weekend and will be pushing for inclusion here, as will Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood.

No team has had more different goalscorers in the Europa League this season than United, with Fred, Fernandes and McTominay all on the scoresheet in the win over Brugge last month.

LASK will be without suspended centre-back duo Petar Filipovic and Philipp Wiesinger, meaning Valerien Ismael will be forced into a reshuffle in the heart of defence.

Marvin Potzmann and Husein Balic will also miss out on the first leg through injury.

LASK Linz possible starting lineup:
Schlager; Trauner, Ramsebner, Wostry; Ranflt, Holland, Michorl, Renner; Frieser, Goiginger; Raguz

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Shaw; Fred, Matic, McTominay; Fernandes; Martial, Ighalo

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We say: LASK Linz 0-2 Manchester United

United have won seven and drawn one of their eight previous encounters with Austrian sides. The Red Devils enter this match on a fine run of form and we are backing them to take a commanding lead into next week's return fixture at Old Trafford.


Who will win Thursday's Europa League last-16 first leg between LASK Linz and Manchester United?

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