It’s been a great week for Manchester United fans. Not only did they see their side not concede from a corner for the first time in six years (granted they needed VAR there), they won away at Chelsea and got to watch Jordan Henderson run around confused for 80 minutes.
But reality does set in fairly quickly when Wednesday evening becomes Thursday morning and you remember that your own football club are probably away in some god-forsaken city that not even Ryanair fly directly to.
I suppose it’s all about context isn’t it, Reds?
To cheer you up, here’s a tasty Thursday treble to sink your teeth into.
With this United side, it’s all about finding their blueprint.
While Solksjaer has admittedly come in for fair criticism about their lack of direction, I’m not so sure it applies anymore. Manchester United are better away from home, and while they’ve huffed and puffed with number 10s for the last two years to try link up play – Fernandes may actually be the answer to making United a force on the break.
They also need to win the Europa League as the top four is going to be a battle – and they’re hardly favourites for that gong at the current rate. This one needs to be front and centre for Ole, if he wants this job long-term.
Given the morale-boosting siege of Stamford Bridge, I fancy them by the odd goal in Belgium.
Selection: Manchester United to win @ 7/5
Occasionally you need a tie to fall your way and this is a nice little odds-boost for coupons. This looks the most open and closed match-up of the week and with Roma suffering from a vastly-improved Serie A this season, Europa League football is probably their lot in terms of league finish.
But they won’t be afraid of anyone in this competition, which is a handy little segue into the top table again. That, and they need this tie to be over after the first leg due to serious fixture congestion domestically.
Not too many follow the Jupiler Pro League but Gent’s struggles are probably the storyline of the entire season – already falling far behind Club Brugge – with the league all but over.
You might think, then, that there’s an added incentive to concentrate on this competition, but that shortfall isn’t by choice – they’re poor.
Selection: Roma to win at 2/5.
You need to understand one thing about Portuguese football. If you’re not within 15 points of the big two, you’re a Championship club.
Rangers, on the other hand, have a looming misconception hanging over them. Because of their history as an in-your-face, rough-you-up football club combined with Steven Gerrard’s persona, many perceive them as just that.
This unit play serious football and when they have more time on the ball, which they do in Europe, they tend to exhibit this.
It was especially evident against Porto, who, handily, act as a lovely barometer for this match-up. I think there’s serious value in this price.
Selection: Rangers to win @ 11/10.
*Prices correct at time of publishing but are fluid