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Another exciting evening is in store for Man Utd as they welcome Club Brugge to Old Trafford on Thursday for the second leg of a Europa League last-32 tie that is finely poised. The reverse fixture in Belgium ended in a 1-1 draw after Anthony Martial cancelled out Emmanuel Bonaventure’s opener. Martial’s goal saved his team’s blushes and ensured that United’s unbeaten run remained intact. This is a competition Manchester United won two seasons ago under Jose Mourinho and the Red Devils have a proud unbeaten record to uphold, having not lost their last 12 home Europa League games since losing to Athletic Bilbao in March 2012. The clubs met in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League play-offs, United cantering through 7-1 on aggregate, with Wayne Rooney scoring a hat-trick as they won the second leg 4-0 in Bruges.
The current form of the Red Devils has been satisfactory as they head into the tie on the back of a six-game unbeaten run in all competitions and after impressive back-to-back Premier League wins against Chelsea and Watford. with a comprehensive 3-0 win at home to Watford on Sunday and having closed the points gap on rivals in the Premier League. New signing Bruno Fernandes made his impact felt by opening his scoring account and playing an active part in both the two other goals earning himself the much deserved Man of the Match award. Effectively a goalless draw would still be enough for the Red Devils on Thursday to qualify for the next round given Martial’s away goal. Brugge have never won an away European match in land, that run includes two draws and 10 defeats, most recently losing 2-1 to Leicester City in a Champions League match three seasons ago.
Team News for Manchester United Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford are still side-lined, but Scott McTominay made a return from a two-month lay-off in the win over Watford and could be thrown back into the starting line-up. Brandon Williams, Sergio Romero and Eric Bailly are all pushing for recalls after missing out against the Hornets, while Juan Mata and Jesse Lingard are also looking to force their way back into the side. Odion Ighalo has made three substitute appearances since joining last month and could be in line for a full debut on Thursday. As for Club Brugge, they have been dealt a double injury blow ahead of the match. Dennis, their goal scorer in the first leg, has not been included in their squad and club captain Ruud Vormer is also absent after both men picked up injuries. Defensive midfielder Eder Balanta is also missing due to suspension.
Manchester United possible starting line-up:
Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Pereira, McTominay; Ighalo, Fernandes, James; Martial
Prediction: 2-1 win to United (3-2 aggregate)