Manchester United vs AS Roma — 5 Key Battles to watch out for | UEFA Europa League 2020/21

Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League
Burnley v Manchester United - Premier League
Sai Teja
Modified 29 Apr 2021

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's Manchester United are set to host Paulo Fonseca's AS Roma in a high-profile UEFA Europa League semi-final at Old Trafford.

The Red Devils have been utterly dominant in the Europa League so far, having thoroughly beaten Real Sociedad by a scoreline of 4-0 and getting the better of AC Milan at San Siro. They've kept five clean sheets in their six games so far, conceding just one goal.

The Giallorossi have been impressive as well, getting past the likes of Shakhtar Donetsk and Ajax in the knockout rounds. They have the highest scorer in the competition, Borja Mayoral, and two Roma players in Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Chris Smalling could be set to face their former clubs in the semi-final tie.

The pair won the Europa League with Manchester United in 2017, when Jose Mourinho led the Red Devils to their first and only UEL title with a win against Ajax. Only four players who are likely to start for Solskjaer's side were present in the side during their win.

Ahead of the fixture, here are five key battles that could define the outcome of the tie.

Manchester United v Roma: 5 Key Battles

#5 Rick Karsdorp vs Luke Shaw

US Sassuolo v AS Roma - Serie A
US Sassuolo v AS Roma - Serie A

Luke Shaw has been one of the most in-form defenders in world football over the course of the season and will undoubtedly be one of Manchester United's main threats in the semi-final tie. The Englishman has created more chances than any player in the Premier League so far and has been an immense attacking outlet on the Red Devils' left side.

He will come up against Rick Karsdorp on his side of the pitch, which could be a fascinating battle to watch out for.

The Dutch full-back had a slow start to life in Rome but has impressed profoundly in Paulo Fonseca's 3-4-2-1 system as a wide defender, and he will have to be at his best to nullify Shaw's menacing runs into Roma's half during the game.

#4 Lorenzo Pellegrini vs Scott McTominay

Manchester United v Leeds United - Premier League
Manchester United v Leeds United - Premier League

Roma captain Lorenzo Pellegrini has been one of the most impressive Giallorossi stars under Fonseca and will be a player Manchester United need to keep in check during the tie. The Italian is an imposing figure who has been given the license to run at defences, which Scott McTominay will have to prevent. Pellegrini averages more chances created (2.15) than any Roma player this season.

McTominay has already shown in the past that he's capable of shutting down midfielders and, in the process, limiting the opposition's attacking threats.

The Scot will lock horns with the Roman club's skipper, which will not be an easy task for him, and a lot of Roma's attacking play will depend on how well McTominay can contain Pellegrini.

Also read: 5 Players who can replace Nemanja Matic at Manchester United

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Published 28 Apr 2021
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