Manchester United vs Astana: Europa League preview
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Last Updated: 19/09/19 11:35pm
Team news, key stats and predictions ahead of Man Utd vs Astana as the Europa League group stages commence.
Daniel James will miss Manchester United's Europa League opener against Astana along with Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial.
The fleet-footed winger picked up a knock in Saturday's win against Leicester and was absent from United's session on Wednesday, when Pogba (ankle) and Shaw (hamstring) did individual work.
Martial (thigh) and Eric Bailly (knee) are out through injury, but Jesse Lingard (illness) and Diogo Dalot (hip) trained with the rest of the squad on the eve of the match.
Solskjaer has confirmed Mason Greenwood, Fred and Axel Tuanzebe will start against Astana, along with back-up goalkeeper Sergio Romero.
This will be the first ever competitive meeting between an English side and a Kazakhstan side.
Manchester United are unbeaten in their last 11 Europa League games (W8 D3), winning the tournament the last time they competed in it (2016-17).
In last season's Europa League, FC Astana became the third side to have as many as eight points from their opening four group games but fail to qualify for the knockout stages.
Manchester United have lost their last two home games in European competition. They've never lost three in a row at Old Trafford before.
After losing six of their first seven away games in major European competition (D1), Astana have lost just one of their last six on the road (W2 D3).
Charlie Nicholas' prediction
Astana will come and 'park the bus'. Manchester United were not brilliant at the weekend, but it was a fabulous result - they nearly stumbled but they didn't, and it is about getting yourselves the three points, in what was a dangerous game.
It doesn't make a difference that Paul Pogba and Jesse Lingard were missing - they have not been setting the world on fire. It is not convincing with United but this is another game in which they will get over the line, in comfortable fashion.
CHARLIE PREDICTS: 2-0 (5/1 with Sky Bet)
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