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United favourites for last 16 spot as Brugge visit M16
By Chris O'Brien
February 26 2020


First leg action

Manchester United are 2/11 favourites to qualify for the Europa League last 16 on Thursday evening, as Club Brugge travel to Old Trafford for an 8pm kick-off, following a 1-1 draw in Belgium.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's men come up against a Brugge side who are on stunning Belgian First Division A form, sitting a stonking nine points clear of second-placed Gent, and having lost only one of 27 league games to date.

United, however, have built up a decent run of form of their own; and will hope to extend an unbeaten run of six matches (just no high scoring draw, please!) and keep European hopes alive, in a competition United previously won under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

The away-goals rule means a goalless draw would be enough for United to progress; against a Brugge side who are yet to win a European away match in England.

United's squad is thought to be shaking off a number of injury troubles, though the likes of Paul Pogba, Marcus Rashford, Lee Grant, Axel Tuanzebe and Timothy Fosu-Mensah remain sidelined.

Scott McTominay is in contention for a return to the starting XI following a knee ligament issue, and may play alongside the in-form Fred - though the Scotsman may also have to settle for a spot on the bench.

Meanwhile, Sergio Romero will surely replace David de Gea between the sticks, but there are mixed reports as to whether Brandon Williams or Luke Shaw will feature on the left-side of his defence. 

Solskjaer is expected to look to impressive new signing Bruno Fernandes and Daniel James for a creative spark; while Anthony Martial is likely to have the chance to add to his goal from the first-leg.

The game is the fourth meeting between the two sides - with United twice victorious in the Champions League in 2015, before February's 1-1 draw at the Jan Breydel Stadium in Bruges.