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Man Utd fans who were hoping that their team had turned the corner were left very disappointed this weekend. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men showed the lack of cutting edge in front of goal and lacklustre defensive play that has characterised their play for far too long in the 1-0 loss to Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon.
That backwards step was enough for some pundits to write off Man Utd’s chances of qualifying for the Champions League this season. Indeed, you’d have to think they’ll need a fair amount of luck just to make it into the Europa League given that they are currently 10th in the Premier League.
Man Utd fans must hope that playing like a midtable Premier League side is enough to get a win over Partizan Belgrade on Thursday night. It was just about enough for them in Serbia a fortnight ago where United secured a 1-0 win without having a single shot on target other than Anthony Martial’s penalty and should be again at Old Trafford.
Man Utd 2/5 (bet365)
Draw 13/4 (Coral)
Partizan 9/1 (Betfred)
(Please note all odds are correct at time of article publishing)
The bookies are confident enough about Man Utd’s chances of winning to have them at heavy odds on across the board. The best price you’ll find about Solskjaer’s men is the 2/5 that bet365 are quoting. Whilst backing this Man Utd side is always risky at that sort of price, there is no doubt that they are a stronger side than Partizan.
That’s the case even if Solskajer decides to make multiple changes to his team. In fact, switching things up could be just what Man Utd need. The younger players pushing to make their breakthrough and those who have been relegated to the fringes of the first-team will each believe that they have a very good chance of forcing their way into the manager’s thoughts.
A match under the lights at Old Trafford when morale is low is the perfect chance for the likes of Mason Greenwood, Brandon Williams and James Garner to show what they can do. The Man Utd fans also love it when one of their own makes it into the first-team from the youth setup so the younger the matchday squad, the higher the level of support the team will get on Thursday night.
An energetic performance for Man Utd should be enough for them to get the win but we’d recommend not backing them at odds on. Instead, consider the 29/20 that Coral are quoting on a home win and for over 2.5 goals to be scored.
Man Utd 1-0 @ 19/4 (Sportingbet)
Man Utd 2-0 @ 5/1 (bet365)
Man Utd 3-0 @ 7/1 (William Hill)
Draw 1-1 @ 8/1 (Paddy Power)
Man Utd 2-1 @ 8/1 (Coral)
Draw 0-0 @ 8/1 (William Hill)
The shortest priced options in the Correct Score market show that the bookies aren’t expecting too much excitement on Thursday night. That’s fair enough as United have rarely excited this season and have just two goals to show from their three Europa League matches. We just think things could be a little different in this one.
The Man Utd players should see this as a very good opportunity to show just what they are capable of. As well as wanting to win back the fans, this is a big match in the context of the group. Man Utd have a couple of tricky matches to come so they must secure all three points on Thursday. Slavia Prague have the ability to grab a goal of their own if Man Utd are overly keen to push forward and score so we like the look of a small stakes bet on the Man Utd 3-1 scoreline 12/1 with William Hill.
Anthony Martial 5/2 (Coral)
Marcus Rashford 7/2 (Paddy Power)
Mason Greenwood 9/2 (bet365)
Daniel James 9/2 (Ladbrokes)
Juan Mata 11/2 (William Hill)
Jesse Lingard 6/1 (Paddy Power)
Andreas Pereira 8/1 (Betfred)
Tahith Chong 17/2 (bet365)
Daniel James has already established himself as a first-team regular in his first season at Man Utd. Solksjaer has made good use of the Welsh winger’s incredible pace and he may well be picked from the start against Partizan. Picking James would show that Solskjaer is serious about winning this match and he can cause Partizan some real problems wherever he slots into United’s formation.
James has scored three times in the Premier League and can open his Europa League account by scoring the game’s first goal at 9/2 with Ladbrokes.
Man Utd to win and over 2.5 goals at 29/20 with Coral
Man Utd 3-1 correct score at 12/1 with William Hill
Daniel James to score first at 9/2 with Ladbrokes