We are finally here; the semi-final of the Europa League is now upon us. Roma travel to Manchester to take on the red side of Manchester in the first leg of the semi-final of the Europa League.
After weeks of talk on social media, the tie has finally crept up on us. But AS Roma form going into the Europa League tie is not great. Sunday’s defeat away at struggling Cagliari was an eye-opener. Another lackluster defeat and AS Roma league campaign in Serie A is crashing down to a halt.
Winless in the last three with defeats to sides who are fighting relegation in Torino and Cagliari. That was sandwiched in between a midweek round of action where Roma did well in a spirited 1-1 draw at home against the swashbuckling Atalanta side.
The Robin Gosens sending off changed the complexion of the game into Roma favour and really could have won it. The league form since the AC Milan defeat has been worrying, just 3 wins in the last 9 games. A massive drop in form as the side has struggled to cope with the rigours of competing across two formats. The manor of defeats to 3 of the bottom 4 has been unacceptable.
But the Europa League this season under Paulo Fonseca has been excellent, 10 wins, 1 draw, and 1 defeat in 12 games. The 1 defeat was the final game of the UEL group stage in Sofia against CSKA Sofia where Paulo Fonseca did a lot of heavy rotating as the group was already run. The run in the knockout stages has been very impressive, 5 wins and 1 draw have seen Roma swat away Sporting Braga, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Ajax to progress to the semi-final stage of the Europa League.
Gianluca Mancini‘s loss for the first leg for AS Roma is a massive loss, he was booked for dissent by English referee Anthony Taylor in the second leg against Ajax. After the game against Ajax, where the Roma players were celebrating, Gianluca Mancini just looked crestfallen and upset that he would miss the first leg.
PREDICTED LINE UP | AS ROMA (3-4-2-1)
Pau Lopez, Smalling, Cristante, Ibanez, Karsdorp, Veretout, Diawara, Spinazzola, Pellegrini, Mkhitaryan, Dzeko.
Manchester United are currently 2nd in the Premier League standings with 67 points from 33 games and are 10 points behind hated rivals Manchester City who are sitting top of the tree here in England.
Manchester United form going into the semi-final against AS Roma has been excellent. Unbeaten in the last 6 games in the Premier League and Europa League, 5 wins and 1 draw, the draw was the 0-0 against Leeds United. Two of the wins were the UEL quarter-final win over Granada. Both games were won 2-0.
Burnley, Tottenham Hotspur, and Brighton Hove & Albion were all defeated as Manchester United were seeking a top-two spot. Sandwiched in between the AS Roma UEL semi-final tie, Manchester United to have an encounter against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday evening.
Manchester United Europa League form in 2021 has been excellent, 4 wins and two draws. Real Sociedad were beaten 4-0 on aggregate and that included a brilliant 4-0 away win for Manchester United with the tie being played in Turin. AC Milan were beaten 2-1 over the two legs with Paul Pogba being the hero in Milan with the winner in the second leg. Granada, who had done so well getting to the UEL quarter-finals and was a fairy tale story, were defeated twice 2-0 over two legs.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been in a permanent role as Manchester United manager since March 28th, 2019. He had spent the previous three months in caretaker role. This season he likes to play with a 4-2-3-1 and that has been his staple diet of a formation in his reign at Manchester United.
The key player to watch out for in the Manchester United XI:
Maybe Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been a bit too over-reliant on this player with Bruno Fernandes racking up over 4,000 minutes of football this season for Manchester United (4013 to be precise). Bruno Fernandes has featured in 51 games this season so far for the Red Devils and has been involved in 38 goals with 24 scored and 14 assisted.
He has been Mr dependent for Manchester United this season, but has he been burnt out. He is goalless 5 league games and maybe this season of crazy football being played every few days is catching up to him. But he will be a constant threat all game and will be looking to cause damage against a leaky AS Roma defence.
PREDICTED LINE UP | MANCHESTER UNITED (4-2-3-1)
Henderson, Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Shaw, Fred, McTominay, Greenwood, Fernandes, Rashford, Cavani.
This is going to be tense and nervy, for Roma the league form going into this game has been awful. Winless in the last three and slowly dropping away from the top 4. Manchester United form going into this has been excellent. Losing Gianluca Mancini to suspension is a big loss as he is the natural leader in the back 3, it will be something that Manchester United will use to exploit.