Manchester United v Roma Tips: Best bets for Europa League clash of the titans
Thursday night means the return of the Europa League and Man United welcome Roma to Old Trafford in the first leg of their semi-final, live on BT Sport. Solskjaer will be eager to make this his first piece of silverware as the United boss in what has been another progressive season for the Red Devils.
United head into this as 8/15 favourites on the night with Roma best priced 11/2 and it’s hard to look past the home side here. They've won 4 on the bounce at home and face a Roma side who have been leaking goals all season. A run of 3 games without a win has seen the Italians drop to 7th in the league and fall 11 points behind Juventus who currently occupy the last Champions League spot in the Serie A.
Man United have a fully fit squad at their disposal other than Anthony Martial who might not feature again this season. Roma’s injury list has cleared up significantly in recent weeks with notable returns to former United duo Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling. Pedro and Zaniolo miss out through injury and Gianluca Mancini will miss the first leg through suspension.
Pogba should return to the starting 11 here and get some good minutes after only featuring off the bench on the weekend. I expect United to take this game to Roma and the Frenchman can be very influential on his day.
Solskjaer has recently opted to play Pogba as part of the front 4 rather than as a holding midfielder which has seen him hit this line in all 3 previous league starts, so I fancy him to hit it again. Pogba loves a pop from range and with Fred or McTominay working as the anchors in the side, he has a clear license to affect the game in the attacking third when needed.
He didn’t manage a shot in his 45-minute cameo vs Granada last time out in this competition but the tie was already won. The two games united have been chasing in the Europa League has seen Pogba manage 3 shots vs Milan and 2 vs Granada.
The impetus will be with United here as the home side, so I expect Pogba to be used in an attacking role, hopefully pulling the trigger at least twice as a result.
Having this bet again at this price. Tipped it previously as an 11/2 winner so I'm going back in with the old faithful in a game which could see the cards. McTominay is priced around 12/5 with most bookies so 5/1 on offer from 365 seems generous.
He's been booked in 5 of his last 8 Man United appearances not including 7 minutes vs Brighton. 2 of these cautions came in the Europa League and Roma have the players capable of drawing the fouls especially on the counter. Attacking midfielders Mkhitaryan and Pelligrini both rank in the top 5 fouled Roma players this season and will both be direct opponents to McTominay tonight.
Referee Carlos del Cerro is at the whistle for this one. He's averaging 4.8 cards per game this season and gave out 5 in his last Europa League game including a red. He’s never shy of dishing them out and with a lot at stake for both sides I'm hoping he will be on form once again.
On top of my Pogba selection I'm chucking in two player cards to make a huge 37/1 shot, available using the bet builder feature on Paddy Power.
Maguire is United's most carded player this season, picking up 14 cards in all competitions! The lack of pace he has often results in tactical fouls which sees him cautioned. He will be occupied by Edin Dzeko who is a handful for all centre halves.
Adding in a Chris Smalling booking gives us a chunky longshot. The ex-United defender will be eager to impress vs his former side and after a lengthy spell out of action could find it tough to escape here without a booking. He's been cautioned in a quarter of his Serie A starts so fingers crossed for another here.