Astana vs Man United: Team news, prediction & likely lineups

Manchester United have the chance to seal their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League when they travel to Astana on Thursday.The Red Devils only managed a 1-0 win when the pair met at Old Trafford earlier this season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s decision to send a squad consisting primarily of academy players could see the Kazakhstan side claim a shock result.Team News Solskjaer has a lengthy injury list to contend with, which could explain his decision to protect his senior stars and send academy players to face Astana.Marcos Rojo, Eric Bailly, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, Diogo Dalot, Scott McTominay and Paul Pogba are among those who have been ruled out, leaving the Norwegian with few options to work with as he attempts to arrest their Premier League slide.As a result, Jesse Lingard, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe are the only three first-team players to be included who have played this term, with the latter two taking the opportunity to take in some competitive minutes as they work their way back from injury.A number of players will be making their debuts, while the likes of Greenwood, Tahith Chong and James Garner will be given further chances to impress.For Astana, only striker Firmin Mubele is unavailable due to a knee injury sustained at the back end of September.Head to Head Manchester United and Astana have only faced off once, which ended in a 1-0 victory for Red Devils in the reverse fixture of this tie back in September with Mason Greenwood scored the goal that set the two sides apart, in Old Trafford in what could have been a famous result for Kazakhstan side.Recent FormAlthough Astana have been in abysmal form in the Europa League, they are top dogs in the Kazakhstan Premier Division as they have won four from their last five domestically, and are one point ahead of Kairat in second place. However, with four losses in Group L, this competition might be too tough a task for the home side.Manchester United have struggled to get any form going in the Premier League this season and sit in ninth place, but a number of fresh faces may not give a fair representation of how the first-team is really coping. In the Europa League, however, they have won three and drawn one, sit top of the pile and have not conceded yet. This young Red Devils side will be looking to keep this record intact with first-team opportunities arising on a regular basis.Astana possible starting lineup: Eric; Rukavina, Postnikov, Logvinenko, Shomko; Beisebekov, Pertsukh, Mayewski, Rotariu; Tomasov, Khizhnichenko.Manchester United possible starting lineup: Grant; Laird, Tuanzebe, Bernard, Shaw; Garner, Levitt; Chong, Lingard, Gomes; Greenwood.Prediction: Astana 2-2 Manchester United

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