Manchester United vs Saint Etienne
Competition: Europa League
Date: 16 February 2017
Kick-off: 19:00 CET
The problem with this part of the Europa League is that despite all the excitement of some big name teams dropping down from the Champion’s League, they are pretty jaded by this stage. It will not be the same with manchester United who have fought their way through the Europa League to meet up with Saint Etienne.
Manchester United are probably at ease with the fact that they are out of the Premier League race, but that has not stopped them doing their best, currently on 16 games undefeated. They are also looking to impress on all other fronts as they are still in the FA Cup and have made it through to the EFL Cup final. It has a feeling that Jose is hell-bent on proving his winning capabilities to the Manchester United fans, and he will do it this season by picking up as many trophies as possible, even if they are not the most glamourous ones. A game against Saint Etienne won’t be the most taxing of fixtures for the mighty Red Devils, and at home, they will look to put down a big marker.
For Saint Etienne, this is a pretty big fixture, and looking at their form in the group stages, they are technically the favourites as they came top of Group C, albeit by a small margin. United came second in group A, and picked up 12 points, which is the same at Etienne for their three wins and three draws. It should be an interesting fixture as the French side are doing pretty well in Ligue 1, currently in fifth, which is better than where United are in the premier League. What will be the most telling is what sort of side Jose puts out, but it is likely to have a few big names, like Rooney, Zlatan and Pogba.
Manchester United vs Saint Etienne: Group stage form
Manchester United, having to play in the Europa League, were touted as favourites at the start of this campaign but ended in second behind Fenerbahce with four wins and two losses. They scored to most goals in the group, 12, and conceded four.
Manchester United vs Saint Etienne: Prediction
These teams are on pretty similar footing in their own circles, both of them trying to break into the top four of their leagues, both with 12 points through the group stages. The thing is United are playing with tougher opposition so their position is worth more. United are in good form as well, and have that winning mentality, regardless of competition. They should be comfortable winners in this first leg.