MX23RW : Tuesday, May 18 00:32:12| >> :120:4483:4483:
May 6, 2021 at 8pm UK at Stadio Olimpico
RomaRoma
3-2
Man UtdManchester United
Dzeko (57'), Cristante (60'), Telles (83' og.)
Karsdorp (72'), Cristante (84')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Cavani (39', 68')
Wan-Bissaka (18'), Fred (58'), Cavani (72'), Williams (90+2')

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

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Europa League clash between Roma and Manchester United, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Last week's crushing success at Old Trafford sees Manchester United with one foot in the final, as they visit downtrodden Roma in their Europa League semi-final second leg on Thursday.

The two clubs convene at Stadio Olimpico having prepared in far from ideal circumstances, as United saw their weekend game called off amid chaotic scenes and the hosts slumped to a third successive defeat - leading to their manager's upcoming departure.


Match preview

Manchester United's Edinson Cavani celebrates scoring against Roma in the Europa League on April 29, 2021© Reuters

After an unconvincing first-half performance last Thursday, both Bruno Fernandes and evergreen frontman Edinson Cavani (now on 50 goals in European competition) bagged braces as Manchester United came from behind to destroy Roma and effectively seal their place in the Europa League final.

Though the final 6-2 scoreline did not equal United's infamous 7-1 Champions League thrashing of the same opponents back in 2007 - a game in which current boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was a substitute - the margin of victory was as impressive as their second-half display.

Should they get across the line in Rome this week, Solskjaer will be relieved to break a run of four successive semi-final defeats during his relatively brief reign - including last season's one-off tie with Sevilla. Undoubtedly, the Red Devils are now firm favourites to lift their first trophy since 2017's final success under incoming Roma manager Jose Mourinho - with only Villarreal or Arsenal left standing in their way.

Following the controversy arising from trying to break away from the current structures of European football a fortnight ago, further fan unrest resulted in United's long-awaited Premier League game versus Liverpool being postponed on Sunday afternoon - after over 200 fans broke into Old Trafford, protesting against the Glazer family's ownership of the club.

However, despite the disruption, Solskjaer's men will now have essentially enjoyed a full week's break between home and away ties, so integral players such as the inspirational Fernandes - who has registered a remarkable 19 goals from 31 previous Europa League outings - should be fully fit and firing in the Eternal City.

Roma manager Paulo Fonseca pictured in February 2021© Reuters

With a four-goal deficit to make up on Thursday - an improbable ask at the best of times - tailspinning Roma approach their forbidding task deep in the midst of their worst form of the season and with their leader forced to make his exit from the club.

Since the Europa League's return in February, Italy's last side standing in Europe have hit a severe domestic downturn - with last Sunday's 2-0 reverse at mid-table Sampdoria following on from a 3-2 defeat against relegation battlers Cagliari. Coming after previously losing to Torino - another team at the wrong end of Serie A - embattled coach Paulo Fonseca had apparently gone all-in on going all the way in Europe.

How events unfolded in Manchester last week means that such plans to save their season have backfired spectacularly, with Fonseca's end-of-term exit being confirmed earlier this week, as former Manchester United boss Jose Mourinho now waits in the wings.

Earlier this week, defender Gianluca Mancini admitted that Roma deserved to lose both of their last two games and issued an apology to the club's fans - who saw dreams of a first European final in 30 years dashed in the space of 45 chaotic minutes.

The Italy international also noted that missing several first-team players of late has played a part in Roma's demise - in fact, they became the first team ever to make three substitutions in the first half of a Europa League game, following a succession of injuries at Old Trafford.

After their trip to Theatre of Dreams resulted only in nightmares, the Giallorossi's weekend loss also meant that they have now won just one of their last nine league matches on the road. Fortunately, Roma have fared much better at the Olimpico - they rank fourth in Serie A at home, compared to 12th away - so some hope of redemption remains.

Primarily, though, their aim will be to restore some pride, after becoming the first Italian side to ship six goals in a continental semi-final.

Roma Europa League form:
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • L

Roma form (all competitions):
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • L

Manchester United Europa League form:
  • D
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Manchester United form (all competitions):
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • D
  • W



Team News

Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez pictured in October 2019© Reuters

Adding to their apparently unending injury woes, Roma have confirmed that first-choice goalkeeper Pau Lopez will miss the remainder of the season, as he requires shoulder surgery after being forced off in the first leg. Though third-choice Daniel Fuzato was given a rare run out at the weekend, veteran stopper Antonio Mirante was Lopez's replacement that night and is expected to start at the Olimpico.

Paulo Fonseca also had to prematurely withdraw midfielders Jordan Veretout and Leonardo Spinazzola last Thursday, with the pair remaining doubtful ahead of the return, having missed out on Sunday.

Both Amadou Diawara and Carles Perez were also sidelined against Sampdoria, but Bruno Peres should overcome a knock sustained at Marassi and centre-back Gianluca Mancini has served his European suspension and will be available to play.

Contrastingly, before the scheduled Liverpool fixture, Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer confirmed that only long-term injury absentees Phil Jones and Anthony Martial were unavailable for selection, so an otherwise full-strength squad is expected to travel.

Nemanja Matic and Alex Telles are among the names Solskjaer will consider for his XI, as the upcoming fixture list suddenly looks very cluttered.

After starting United's last league game against Leeds, both Dean Henderson and Daniel James were not selected for the first leg, while Mason Greenwood only appeared in the final few minutes.

Though James has not travelled to Rome, the other two will press for a start on Thursday, as they stake a claim for selection in the final - should the Reds go on to complete the job.

Roma possible starting lineup:
Mirante; Mancini, Smalling, Ibanez; Karsdorp, Cristante, Villar, Peres; Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan; Dzeko

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Telles; Fred, Matic; Rashford, Fernandes, Pogba; Greenwood


SM words green background

We say: Roma 1-2 Manchester United

Even if Manchester United decide against fielding their first XI - reasoning that the task of reaching the final is all but complete - a confident and rested side should be able to take further advantage of the disarray injury-addled Roma find themselves in.

While the pre-game appointment of ex-United manager Jose Mourinho as the Giallorossi's new head coach from next season adds a dash of intrigue to the encounter, his former team should comfortably dismiss any hopes of the home side staging an odds-defying comeback.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a draw or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Draw/Away:data


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How you voted: Roma vs Man Utd

Roma
17.4%
Draw
11.0%
Manchester United
71.6%
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Manchester United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pictured on April 29, 2021
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