Sir Alex Ferguson’s men would be keen to make progression to the round of 16 after claiming a 2-0 win in the first-leg last week at Amsterdam Arena.
On Thursday, February 23, Manchester United will lock horns against Ajax Amsterdam in the return leg of UEFA Europa League round of 32 at Old Trafford. The Red Devils claimed a comfortable 2-0 victory in the first-leg at Amsterdam Arena on February 16.
After crashing out of the UEFA Champions League group stages, the Red Devils are keen to impress in Europe’s second tier competition. However, they failed to do that in the first-leg despite going on to win the match at the end.
The Amsterdam giants staged a decent show in the opening 45 minutes while creating few goalscoring opportunities as well. However, they failed to break the deadlock.
After the half-time break, the Red Devils started to assert their authority and goals from Ashley Young and Javier Hernandez sealed a comfortable victory.
United head coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, praised the Dutch champions’ performance in the first-leg and would be hoping to see another fine show from them. However, he would be keen to see a better performance from his troops against the Amsterdammers at home.
The Amsterdammers are coming into this match on the back of an impressive 4-1 win over NEC Nijmegen at Amsterdam Arena on February 19, though, their good performance in the Eredivisie does not guarantee them a good result against the English Premier League
After going 2-0 down at home in the first-leg, they are left with a mountain to climb in the return leg. However, the Amsterdam giants are expected to press the Red Devils hard though it is highly unlikely that they would be securing an upset win over the
English Premier League champions.
Sir Alex Ferguson is likely to rest some of his key players though he also faces a selection headache due to injuries. Antonio Valencia is sidelined due to a hamstring injury while long term absentees Anderson, Nemanja Vidic, Darren Fletcher and Michael
Owen still remain out of action.
Probable Line-up: De Gea; Rafael, Jones, Smalling, Fabio; Park, Cleverley, Pogba, Young; Berbatov, Hernandez.
The Amsterdammers are also struggling with a number of injuries to their first-team squad. Derk Boerrigter, Gregory van der Wiel, Eyong Enoh, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Nicolai Boilesen and Dmitry Bulykin are all sidelined due to various injuries.
Probable Line-up: Vermeer; Anita, Alderweireld, Vertonghen, Koppers; De Jong, Eriksen, van Rhijn; Ozbiliz, Lodeiro, Sulejmani.
Players to watch
Tom Cleverley – Manchester United
The young midfielder returned to match action against Ajax in the first-leg after remaining on the sidelines for four months due to an ankle injury and put in a decent performance. His creativity in the midfield will certainly play an integral role, as his
side looks to eliminate the Eredivisie outfit from the competition.
Siem de Jong – Ajax Amsterdam
The 23-year-old attacking midfielder brought out a brilliant save from Manchester United goalkeeper, David de Gea, in the first-leg. He would certainly test the Red Devils’ gloves man yet again from range. He should perform at his best if the Amsterdam giants
are to grind out a good result in their favour.
Ajax will not give up their European dream without a fight in the return leg. But Manchester United remain the clear favourites to emerge victorious in this encounter. The match will end in a 3-1 win for the Red Devils.