With 11 of Astana’s last 12 home games in all competitions producing over 2.5 match goals, there should be plenty of entertainment forthcoming in this UEFA Europa League (UEL) clash. However, their status as outsiders could be justified emphatically, with their last four competitive home games (W2, L2) seeing the victor win both halves.
Despite boasting a respectably level all-time UEL group stage home record (W4, D3, L4), Astana face the 2017 trophy winners having lost each of their last five European outings. They scored just once across that whole sequence, amongst which is the 1-0 defeat in the reverse H2H, after a goalless first half.
Manchester United’s last UEL outing extended their unbeaten run in this competition to 15 matches (W11, D4). Each of their last five UEL matches (W4, D1) has seen the opposition fail to score, and relevantly, each of their six prior UEL matches won on foreign soil has yielded a clean sheet.
If there is anything to sober United’s expectations, it is that December 2016 is the last time any United squad scored 2+ goals in a UEL group stage away match. Consequently, four of Manchester United’s five prior UEL group stage away trips have separated the teams by a margin of under 1.5 goals.
Players to watch: Three of Astana’s last four UEL home games have seen Rúnar Sigurjónsson score in the second half.
United starlet Mason Greenwood scored the winner in the reverse H2H and also registered a goal in the Premier League on Sunday. Both strikes arrived beyond the hour mark.
Stat attack: Astana has conceded 3.20 goals per-match on average across their last five European fixtures (L5).
The hosts’ last three UEL group stage defeats at home have seen them concede the opener inside the 16th-30th minute period.
Shock incoming? Three (D1, L2) of United’s last five away matches to end in a draw or defeat have seen them lose the first half 1-0.
Will not play
Referee: Rumsas D. (Ltu),
Venue: Astana Arena (Nur-Sultan)