UEFA Europa League. Group Stage. Round 2
European second best club tournament Europa league is to follow the two match days in UEFA Champions League. Traditionally, the ‘names’ in Europa League are less known (except of several Grands) and the clashes seem less tempting. However, a real football fan will always find what to watch, especially when there are 24 games planned for today.
Venue: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
Referee: Orel Grinfeeld, Israel
Manchester United’s season start has not been the best. The expectations from Jose Mourinho’s joining the club have been much more than what turned out to be. The Portuguese professional, equipped with high class new comers have already recorded three losses. Moreover, the specialists all over the world are not satisfied with Mourinho’s team decisions. Europa League first game against Feyenoord (0-1) was another loss, so now the English grand are residing in the fourth last position in their group.
However, Jose Mourinho has always been a man of interesting decisions and the home game against Zorya is expected to be a real battle for three points as well as the regaining of their fans’ respect.
The English side, however, have some serious losses ahead of the Thursday clash defenders Phil Jones and Luke Shaw are unfit for the game, while Wayne Rooney is doubtful for the match and is less likely to be in the starting lineups. Midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan is back after injury, however, is not expected to feature either, as Jose Mourinho plans to have him for the English Premier League games.
As regards the Ukranian Zorya, the club is back to the European arena after they participated in Europa League season 2014-15. In their national team the Luhansk team are the second right below Shakhtar Donetsk, having accumulated 20 points in 9 games played. Although the Ukranian side are obviously weaker than Manchester United in terms of club history, current squads and experience in general, the team still have the chance to show themselves in the European arena, using Manchester United’s vulnerable mental condition as a team. The whole Zorya team are 100% ready, as there are no absent players in the squad.
Venue: Generali Arena, Prague, Czech Republic
Referee: Artur Manuel Ribeiro Soares Dias, Portugal
Sparta Prague and Inter Milan are to meet first time throughout the history of the clubs. The Czech club are currently the fourth in their national tournament 1.Liga after eight opening games played. They have won half of the games, drawn three and lost only once.
Inter, in turn, have started the season with a loss against Chievo (2-0), and a draw against Palermo (1-1). However, the Milan team managed to record 3 wins in a row and finalize it with a draw against Bologna (1-1), to secure the third place in Serie A league table. This is yet the best place for Inter in the recent years.
Europa League, however, had an unfortunate start for both of the teams. Inter lost against Hapoel Beer Shevs (0-2) with no goals scored, whereas Sparta Prague lost to Group K’s favorite Southampton (0-3).
Sparta will most probably feature against Milan without defenders Mario Holek and Lukas Vacha. Both of the players are unfit, the confirmation is yet to follow. The Italian side, in turn, will feature without winger Joao Mario and defender Marco Andreolli. The latter’s injury, however, bears a long-term character and is not a first choice for Frank de Boer.