Erik ten Hag’s team has one foot in the quarterfinal after a resounding 4-1 win in the first leg. Which appears to have overshadowed Manchester United’s lackluster league performance over the last couple of rounds (D1, L1).
This game will be wide open as a result of that commanding score. Real Betis must score first to have any chance of mounting an incredible comeback. While United are within their rights to believe that just one goal will be sufficient to completely demoralize their opponents.
At Old Trafford, Ayoze Perez’s well-placed goal on his return to England gave Betis a glimmer of hope. Pellegrini’s return to Manchester was ultimately a terrible experience for the former Manchester City manager, as his team was defeated by a second-half assault.
Manchester United is in a very healthy position heading into the second leg of this Europa League last-16 tie. There were doubts heading into the initial fixture at Old Trafford. For one, Real Betis are a very good side.
Moreover, United had just lost 7-0 to Liverpool at Anfield. Many predicted there would be some sort of hangover when Erik ten Hag’s team next took to the field. But they came out on top.
Form Guide: Real Betis
Los Verdiblancos’ loss at the Theatre of Dreams came after draws with Real Madrid and Villarreal in La Liga. Yeremy’s goal in the latter’s 1-1 tie at the weekend dropped them to fifth place in the standings, just three points behind Real Sociedad amid their rivals’ rough spell.
In the current structure of the Europa League, Betis has only won one of their last seven home games and has yet to get past the round of 16, but they would do well to follow in the footsteps of their countrymen Valencia in this situation.
No other team has overcome a three-goal deficit to advance from a knockout tie in Europe’s secondary competition. Valencia did this during the 2013–14 Europa League quarterfinals against Basel, losing 3-0 in the first leg before winning 5-0 in the second.
Form Guide: Manchester United
Last Thursday, the Red Devils defeated Manuel Pellegrini’s team 4-1 at Old Trafford, just days after they were humiliated 7-0 by Liverpool in the Premier League.
United had goals from Marcus Rashford, Antony, Bruno Fernandes, and Wout Weghorst in what was an outstanding performance given the circumstances.
Manchester United supporters have gone through a range of emotions in the past week, and this week’s high-octane goalless draw with Southampton was no exception. Instead of scoring, the woodwork and goalkeepers stole the show.
Winning just two of their last six away games does not bode all that well for Ten Hag’s team, but Man United have gone unbeaten in their last four trips to Spain and simply need to avoid a calamitous collapse to put their name in the pot for the quarter-finals.
How the game could go
The match is all but done, but United ought to be fired up after Anfield and a lackluster performance against Southampton, and they ought to be too strong for Betis. They should win even though they certainly don’t have to.
United have scored at least twice in four of their previous five games in this competition, while Betis don’t even have a strong home record to hang their hat on. This might be a repetition of the first game in far of goals scored because Betis must go for it to try and make it a contest.
United may well take their foot off the pedal against a Betis side playing with the freedom given the pretty terminal nature of their hopes of qualifying. But the Spaniards will not get close to the shock comeback required to reach the next round.
Real Betis managed to open the scoring first in Manchester last week and they might have lodged another consolation from the opportunities they manufactured in the opening 45 minutes. Driven on by their fanatical home support, Betis could breach a changed United defense again on Thursday, however, the Red Devils showed in the first leg that they can open the Spaniard’s defense at will, and as such, a stake on both teams to score could be worth considering for the second encounter between the teams in a row. Bet9ja have 1.66, 1xbet have 1.73 and Paripesa have 1.73 odds.
Over 2.5 Goals
Manchester United put four goals past Real Betis at Old Trafford last week, though they probably should have buried double that amount on a night where they created chance after chance. Betis will need to chase the game from the off in the second leg and there should be plenty of room for the Red Devils to counter in Seville. An open game should be in the works then, and our prediction forecasts over 2.5 goals to rattle the net again. Bet9ja have 1.82 odds, Paripesa have 1.93, and 1xbet have 1.93 odds.
Anytime Goalscorer (Real Betis)
Only coming in as a substitute, it is quite unusual for Pelligrini to keep his most crucial player out of the starting XI for big events. After being dropped for the first leg, Betis forward Borja Iglesias is primed to return here and could be a danger if the tie goes the distance, as five of his 11 goals this season have come from the penalty spot. This would be another defining moment in his career and he could help Betis cause an upset. Bet9ja have 3.50 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 3.15.
Anytime Goalscorer (Manchester United)
With five goals and one assist in this UEFA Europa League campaign, Marcus Rashford is in the form of his life. Being the go-to person for goals whenever needed, he has transformed himself into a goal machine this season. The top scorer for his club this season, Rashford will always be someone to look for on the pitch for Manchester United. Bet9ja have 2.75 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.20 odds.
Giant Dutch striker Wout Weghorst has been running himself into the ground for United following his loan move from Burnley in January, though the 30-year-old hadn’t had much fortune in front of goal until his effort against Real Betis last week. Weghorst will hope to follow up that strike with another in the Europa League on Thursday. We can as well see him repeating that today. Bet9ja have 3.25 odds for him to score while Paripesa have 2.87.
Football Lover. All-round junkie of the beautiful game. Could be found watching football most of the time. If not he’s writing about them or making some punditry you don’t agree with. A certain bias for Arsenal and Santos FC.