Manchester United v Granada: United to saunter into final four

After picking up two out of two winners from the first leg Kevin Hatchard is tipping Manchester United to have no problems against Granada at Old Trafford.

United still on track for Europa glory

It wasn't their most fluent and exciting display of the season, but Manchester United's 2-0 success against Granada last week at Los Carmenes was a massive step towards the semi-finals. The extremely controversial decision to award United a late penalty, and its subsequent conversion by Bruno Fernandes, turned a decent result into a great one.

Since then, United have won 3-1 at Spurs to take a significant stride towards Champions League qualification, and they have now lost just one of their last 18 games in all competitions. United's league position - too far from Manchester City to mount a title charge, but too far ahead of their other rivals to be concerned - means that they can now focus on trying to win the Europa League. That would be Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's first trophy as manager, and it would give his reign more legitimacy. United are 2.24 favourites to lift the trophy.

Luke Shaw, Harry Maguire and Scott McTominay are all suspended for the second leg, while Anthony Martial is expected to miss out with injury. It would be a surprise if star midfielder Fernandes didn't start, given that he started the second leg against Real Sociedad, with United already 4-0 up.

Final performance for plucky Granada

Granada coach Diego Martinez is a football obsessive, a man who lives and breathes the sport. Bringing a world-famous outfit like Manchester United to Los Carmenes will have been a huge source of pride for the 40-year-old, and before the first leg he spoke of the need for a perfect match against a team like United.

That perfect match didn't quite arrive last week, as the defence switched off to allow Marcus Rashford to race clear for the opening goal, and the team wasn't able to create enough in attack. The Infogol stats show an Expected Goals figure of just 0.43, and the Spanish side managed just three efforts on target.

Granada have produced surprising results on the road already in this competition, in what is their first ever European campaign. They won 2-1 against PSV in Eindhoven, and they ground out a 2-1 defeat at Napoli that saw them go through 3-2 on aggregate, but there is little to suggest they can produce the kind of dominant display they would need to turn this tie around.

Domingos Duarte and Yan Eteki are suspended, while Luis Milla is still injured. Veteran striker Roberto Soldado has had a full week of rest after he was suspended for the weekend's win at Real Valladolid.

United to win again

United demonstrated that they are the superior side last week, and despite the absences of Shaw, Maguire and McTominay, it would be a major surprise if the Red Devils tumbled out from this position. I think Granada will once again work incredibly hard, and they won't want to be hammered on such a big stage.

Granada have lost six of their last nine on the road in La Liga, and if you look at their away games against quality opposition, they lost 2-0 at Real Madrid, 2-0 at Real Sociedad and 6-1 at Atletico Madrid.

If United take an early lead, the tie is surely over, and I'd expect them to conserve energy and just see the game out. I'll back United to win and Under 3.5 Goals on the Sportsbook's Bet Builder at 1.89.

Fernandes to strike again?

My determination to keep backing Bruno Fernandes to score in United's games paid off last week, but even though he is trading at 2.3 here, I'm a little more reticent. There won't be many goals in this one, and if United are cruising through, it doesn't make sense for Solskjaer to keep the Portuguese international on for the whole 90 minutes.

Mason Greenwood is worth considering at 2.88. He came on as a sub to great effect in the 3-1 win at Tottenham, as he struck his third goal in four appearances. He is expected to lead the attack here.



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