United to be tested by Anderlecht in Europa League quarter-finalPublished on April 3rd, 2017 4:41 pm EST
Written By: Cian Murray
After an uninspired draw against West Brom, it appears that Manchester United's chances of finishing within the top four of the Premier League are dead.
Thus, if they are going to make it into next season's Champions League, they are going to have to win Europe's secondary competition - the Europa League.
Standing in their way is Anderlecht, who host the Red Devils in an intriguing quarter-final first-leg.
Anderlecht currently sit atop the Belgian Jupiler League and will be hoping to add yet another domestic title this season.
Despite this strong form in their home league, the Belgian side haven't had it all their own way in European competition this season.
They scraped by Apoel Nicosia in the last round and their performances in the earlier stages of the competition were very mixed. They have coupled wins against the likes of Mainz and Gabala, with losses against Zenit and St Etienne.
However, their home form has been nothing short of outstanding. They have won five of their last six games at home in European competition.
They are 13/4 to continue this strong form and defeat United in the opening leg of this tie. United are evens to come away with a win, while the draw is priced at around 3/1. Anyone who knows Jose Mourinho, knows that his teams often play defensively during first-leg ties, thus the draw may prove enticing to some.
United haven't had it all their own way in European competition either - losing against the likes of Feyenoord and Fenerbahce in the group stages. They even struggled against Russian minnows FC Rostov in the last round.
Despite this, Mourinho's team are fancied by the bookmakers to go all the way this year, being priced at around 6/4 to win the entire tournament. The Belgians are priced at a massive 33/1 to win the Europa League.
If you reckon the English side will stumble at this stage of the tournament, you can back Anderlecht to qualify for the semi-finals at around 7/2.
If you are going to keep faith with the Mourinho's men, you can back them to qualify at 1/4.
The two sides aren't without their goalscorers - both Lukasz Teodorczyk and Zlatan Ibrahimovic have both already scored five goals in this year's tournament. There is also a pair of young sharpshooters in Anthony Martial and Yoeri Tielemans playing for either side that suggest that this game won't be without chances.
This may entice some punters to throw a few quid on the both teams to score market, where a 'yes' is priced at 10/11.
We are going to stick with Man United to win this game and win the overall tie. The fact that Anderlecht have lost 20 of their 32 games against English opposition is just too much information to ignore.