Kick Off: Thursday 16th February
Live on Channel 5 6.00pm
Manchester United have never competed in the Europa League and the last time they played in the Uefa Cup was nearly seventeen years ago, so it will be interesting to see just how seriously Sir Alex Ferguson approaches this tournament.
It seems pretty certain that, with their challenge for the Premier League title very much on, they may decide to field a weakened team in order to prevent injury and retain fitness levels.
Sir Alex took a few chances with his selection process in a couple of Champions League group games in order to do the same thing, which ultimately led to them winning just two games, so we must think straight away that their starting line up will be some way short of full strength.
Manchester United’s squad looks nowhere near as strong as it has been over the last few years, but they have maintained pressure on Manchester City at the top of the league, and must be commended on their ability to grind out results even when under performing.
Ajax are another team that were eliminated at group stage, but their story is more of hard luck. They competed in the same group as Real Madrid, and in fact lost only to Mourinho’s men, with only goal difference ending their Champions League foray.
Manchester United 8/11
Although current Dutch Champions, Ajax aren’t having it all their own way this season- currently 6th in the league, 6 points behind leaders PSV.
League position aside, Ajax have struggled to accumulate points since the turn of the new year; winning just 1 of their 5 competitive games in 2012.
There are question marks about both teams here and backing a winner appears to risky bearing in mind the above information.
As this is a two-legged knock out tie Manchester United may be content with a draw in Holland, while Ajax will know that a home win is of the utmost importance.
The best bet to go for here may be Both Teams to Score, which is available at a best price of 4/5 with 888sport.
United have scored in 9 of their last 10 away games in Europe, while Ajax will be going all out for the win in the Amsterdam Arena making it an attractive bet.
Back both teams to score 4/5 at 888sport