Everything that you need to know ahead of Thursday’s match:
(1) Manchester United enter the second leg of this Europa League quarterfinal with a 2-0 lead on aggregate. Marcus Rashford opened the scoring in Andalusia last week, before Bruno Fernandes finished the job with a 90th minute penalty to all but kill off Los Nazaries.
(2) It was a comprehensive win over Granada in the first leg, though Ole Gunnar Solskjaer won’t be happy that three of his top players picked up one-match suspensions. Harry Maguire, Luke Shaw, and Scott McTominay will all miss Thursday’s match because of yellow card accumulation.
(3) Alex Telles seems the obvious choice to replace Luke Shaw at left-back, while Solskjaer could turn to Axel Tuanzebe to stand in for Maguire in central defense. Eric Bailly, too, could be an option — depending on his fitness. The 27-year-old Ivorian returned to Manchester this week after testing positive for COVID-19 while on international duty, so his availability for Thursday hinges on how his fitness levels held up during his illness.
(4) McTominay’s suspension also presents Solskjaer with numerous options. Nemanja Matić would be a fairly like-for-like replacement and the safest option, but this could also be the perfect chance to give Donny van de Beek another run-out in a deeper role.
(5) Other possible changes: David De Gea should be back in goal after Dean Henderson played at Tottenham Hotspur over the weekend. The two United goalkeepers appear to have officially swapped roles — making DDG the Europa League keeper — down the stretch. Marcus Rashford, too, could really use a rest after featuring in practically every game so far this season.
Rashford took an eternity to make it to his seat after coming off today. Clearly struggling and needs a breather. Would be logical to give him two weeks off - #mufc all but through against Granada, seven points clear in second and don't have a midweek game week beginning 19th.— Samuel Luckhurst (@samuelluckhurst) April 11, 2021
(6) That first-leg lead also gives Solskjaer the opportunity to work some of the club’s young guns into this one. Defender Will Fish was spotted in first team training this week, alongside Anthony Elanga and Shola Shoretire. Elanga scored for the U23s last week and could parlay that performance into a Europa League appearance.
(7) Manchester United won 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday to move seven points clear of Leicester City for second in the Premier League. The Reds fell behind to a Son Heung-min goal in the first half, before blitzing Spurs with three scores after the break to seal their first-ever win at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
(8) Daniel James was a notable absence from the Manchester United squad on Sunday. Solskjaer revealed that James suffered an injury at Granada, but didn’t tip his hand as to whether or not the winger would be back for the second leg. If James can’t go, that would open up a starting spot for Amad Diallo.
(9) Granada traveled to Real Valladolid on Sunday and clawed their way back into the win column with a hard-fought 2-1 victory. Los Nazaries left it late, though, as Jorge Molina didn’t equalize until the 78th minute and Quini’s winner came in the 86th.
(10) Granada team news: Roberto Soldado was rested for the win over Real Valladolid, so Granada will be praying that the time off spurs the veteran striker to a top-class performance at Old Trafford. A goal or two from Soldado appears to be Granada’s only chance of turning this cup tie on its head. Center back Domingos Duarte will miss the match due to suspension.
(11) Looking ahead: Assuming Manchester United finish the job at Old Trafford on Thursday, they will play the winner of Ajax vs. AS Roma in the Europa League semifinals. Roma look a safe bet to progress, as they beat Ajax away 2-1 in the first leg.