Europa League crunch match
Manchester United and Belgian league leaders Anderlecht meet again at Old Trafford tonight with their UEFA Europa League quarter-final hanging in the balance.
Leander Dendoncker crashed in a late header last Thursday to secure a 1-1 home draw for the Belgian side, and they will now hope to pull off a shock result that United will bid to avert at all costs.
According to UEFA.com United's Marcus Rashford is the one to watch. Anderlecht were unable to stop the United youngster last time out and he proved to be the Reds' most obvious threat in an otherwise stuttering performance from the Premier League team in their opponent's final third.
Out wide, his directness and uncanny ability to beat his man was a permanent feature of the first half. His cross provided Zlatan Ibrahimović with a first-half chance that was brilliantly saved by Martínez Ruben, and it was also a Rashford shot, parried by Ruben, that led to Henrikh Mkhitaryan snaffling up United's goal.
On a night when José Mourinho criticised his forwards' ineffectiveness, his private words to Rashford surely cannot have been quite so harsh. After all, the England international appeared the one player capable of creating a state of alarm for the hosts.
Can Anderlecht smother him in the second leg? Will United work out the best means of exploiting his talents? The answers to those questions could decide a semi-final berth.
According to unitedrant, Anderlecht, the 33-times Belgian title winners, have been far from dominant in recent seasons, having not secured the Jupiler League since 2014.
Yet, the giants of the Belgian game are leading the league this time out, and can boast a group of talented youngsters who are developing rapidly under manager René Weiler.
Star man Youri Thielemans is catching the eye of Europe’s largest clubs, including United according to some reports, with a strong set of performances from midfield and an increasingly healthy selection of spectacular long-range efforts to add to his CV.
Alongside the 19-year-old Belgian international will be the more defensive Leander Dendoncker, another recent debutant for the national side under Roberto Martinez.
Kick off is at Old Trafford at 20.05.