Manchester United have named a 24-man travelling squad for their Europa League trip to Roma.
Daniel James misses the second leg of the semi-final through injury, but youngster Anthony Elanga is included in the squad, as is goalkeeping reserve Nathan Bishop.
Anthony Martial and Phil Jones remain absent with long-term injuries.
It remains to be seen how much Ole Gunnar Solskjaer rotates his squad, given United have a commanding 6-2 aggregate lead from the first leg. Braces from Edinson Cavani and Bruno Fernandes helped United fight back from 2-1 down at Old Trafford, with Roma needing a miraculous recovery to deny United a first major final appearance since 2017 — when they won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho.
The Portuguese may well be watching on at the Olympic Stadium in Rome, as he has been announced as the successor to Paulo Fonseca as Roma boss.
United may be feeling fairly fresh as they didn’t play, as planned, against Liverpool at Old Trafford on Sunday. The game was postponed due to mass protests outside Old Trafford and by United’s team hotel in the city centre.
Roma is in miserable form at the moment. The club has lost four of its last five games in all competitions. Aside from the loss to Manchester United, the other defeats have been against Torino, Cagliari and Sampdoria.
Manager Paulo Fonseca’s team has struggled to limit opponents’ chance creation. Manchester United registered 3.6 expected goals last week. Even Sampdoria got 1.4 xG over the weekend. The worst result was back on April 18, when Torino created 3.7 xG worth of chances.
While Roma’s games are usually exciting and end to end, it hasn’t translated to domestic success. That’s why Jose Mourinho is coming in at the end of the season. There is some solid attacking talent in the squad, but defensive stability is necessary for Roma to get back in the Champions League — or even the Europa League — at this pace.
Obviously, Roma needs a miracle here. Its 3-4-2-1 formation lends itself to some gung-ho attacking, with fullbacks rampaging down the wings, so expect the club to try to hit Manchester United early and often.
The problem for Roma will come in defending the counter. Down four goals, though, the Yellow and Reds will have to accept some risk at the back.
Undoubtedly, the Red Devils wish they didn’t come into this one on a week’s rest, especially given the form they find themselves in.
They have won six of their last seven matches overall, picking up those victories in very impressive fashion. Only one of those six wins was of the one-goal variety, coming back on April 4 against Brighton & Hove Albion.
During that run, Manchester United has registered at least 1.8 xG five times. The two games it didn’t were in the second leg in the Europa League quarterfinals against Granada — a game in which it already sealed a spot in the semifinals after a first-leg win — and a 0-0 draw against Leeds United.
The Red Devils’ only key injury right now is to Anthony Martial, who could be healthy for the final. At this point, though, Martial would be unlikely to fit in the starting XI given the form Edinson Cavani is in. Manchester United is clearly a better team with the Uruguayan goal scorer up top, and moving Paul Pogba to a left-midfield role has given the team some fantastic balance.
Betting Analysis & Pick
I understand Roma needs at least a win, which means it’s going to come out firing in hopes of another miraculous comeback in European play.
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However, I just don’t see it happening. One team has won six of seven and is second in the world’s best league. The other has lost four of five and might not be playing in Europe next season.
Manchester United’s moneyline is a tad low here, but the real value is on the total. These teams went over any number you could’ve imagined in the first leg, leading me to envision a similar result this time. Roma will control possession and might even have the better chances throughout. The Yellow and Reds have no choice but to go for it.
While Roma isn’t in great form, it is still creating chances at a decent rate. Manchester United has more quality going forward.
Live a little and bet the over on what should be an end-to-end matchup with plenty of shots on goal.
Pick: Total Over 3.5 Goals (+123)