AUTHOR: Star Sports Content

STAR FOOTBALL PREVIEW Thurs: Man Utd v Real Betis

How do you respond to a 7-0 defeat against your fiercest rivals?

That is the key question for punters ahead of Manchester United’s Last 16 clash with Real Betis, with the Red Devils reeling from their humiliation against Liverpool at Anfield.

That trashing – United’s worst defeat anywhere since 1931 – came after a shocking 45-minute performance that was completely out of line with the majority of their season, with Erik Ten Hag furious at an ‘unprofessional’ performance where his side lost their heads and didn’t play as a team.

The onus is now on them to bounce back right away, and it could be worth backing Ten Hag’s side – just 2/5 for victory tonight and 9/4 with to win the Europa League title – to do so swiftly.

United have suffered other big setbacks this season – a 4-0 thumping at Brentford on the second weekend of the season, a 6-3 defeat in the Manchester Derby, and a 3-1 loss at Aston Villa – and on each occasion they’ve bounced back with winning runs. United won their next four after losing at Brentford, landed three on the bounce after the Derby defeat and nine after their reverse at Aston Villa (albeit with the World Cup coming after 2 of those).

That defeat can’t be forgotten, but United went to Anfield on a four game winning streak, with the EFL Cup in safe keeping and a quarter-final spot in the FA Cup sealed, and their one other defeat since the World Cup had taken place at Premier League leaders Arsenal thanks to a stoppage time goal.

Manchester United v Real Betis
UEFA Europa League Last 16, 1st Leg
20.00 Live on BT Sport 2 HD / BT Sport App

(Maximum 10 matches)
First meeting between teams

Real Betis are worthy of serious respect. Led by ex-Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini, who’s continuing an extraordinarily successful managerial career there, they dropped points just once in the group stages en route to topping the group and they arrive here in excellent form.

A hat-trick of successive wins against Almeria, Real Valladolid and Elche was followed up with a 0-0 draw against Real Madrid, meaning that Betis sit just outside the top four, three points from the Champions League spots.

Youssouf Sabaly and Juan Miranda did especially well at fullback against Vinicus Junior and Rodrygo, William Carvalho & Guido Rodríguez impressed in midfield whilst former Leicester man Ayoze Pérez also provided a threat upfront, forcing a fine save from Thibaut Courtois.

They are worthy of respect as they make the trip here and are arguably too big in the match odds on recent form, but their patchy away record spells trouble for this trip to Old Trafford. Betis have won six away games in La Liga, but they’ve played just four of the current top ten on the road, and they now head to a Manchester United side with a brilliant home record.

United have won 16 of their last 17 at Old Trafford – a record as good as any in Europe – and they can take a first leg lead here, although Betis can be competitive. Both teams have scored in seven of United’s last ten home games in all competitions, and the 2-1 on United winning with both teams scoring makes appeal.

If Marcus Rashford starts, he is definitely worth supporting to score. The 3/4 on offer with that he finds the net at some stage is a fair price – he’s scored in 15 of his last 21 matches – but the 13/5 that he breaks the deadlock is even more tempting. Rashford has been the first scorer on 6 occasions since the World Cup, and been United’s first scorer on eight occasions, so 13/5 may well be worth taking.


BACK Manchester United and both teams to score 1 pt at 2/1 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)
BACK Marcus Rashford First Goalscorer 1 pt at 13/5 (Latest Star Price ? CLICK TO BET NOW)

PROFIT/LOSS (MAR 2023): LOSS -7.40 points



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