A youthful Manchester United squad looks set to travel to Kazakhstan on Thursday with the majority of senior players left behind ahead of Sunday’s clash with Aston Villa.
With qualification for the last 32 already secured, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer can afford to do that – even if they lose, United will know a home win on matchday six will earn them top spot - but how his starlets perform as a group must be open to question.
The likes of Brandon Williams and Mason Greenwood have proved they are good enough but can others deliver to reward odds-on backers? It’s hard to know.
Astana have suffered thumping defeats to AZ Alkmaar in this competition but they only went down 1-0 at Old Trafford.
On home soil, they looked a tad big at 7/1 but as reports about United’s squad filtered out, they were slashed to shorter than 3/1, a price which is now almost certainly too short, even given the cold temperatures United will face and the fact that the game will be played on an artificial surface.
For those still happy to proceed, a warning light with this bet is that Astana are already out of contention to reach the knockout stage. That said, it seems unlikely they will be making wholesale changes. Their domestic season is now over – Astana having retained their title.
With the value in the outright market gone, there’s a cards bet which catches the eye in this one, namely Jesse Lingard to be booked at a whopping 7/1.
Lingard has been tipped as one of the senior players who will be involved and he’s collected two cards in his seven starts this season, adding to five in 26 last season.
Lithuanian referee Donatas Rumsas tends to flash the cards about a fair bit – eight of his last 10 European games have seen four or more – so 7/1 about a player who will be desperate to catch the eye looks large.
Jesse Lingard to be carded – 7/1 with bet365
All prices correct at time of writing and are subject to change
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