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Oct 24, 2019 at 5.55pm UK
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Preview: Partizan vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Partizan vs. Manchester United - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Manchester United's trip to Partizan in the Europa League on Thursday, including a prediction, team news and predicted lineups.
By | 21d

Manchester United travel to Serbia for a meeting with Partizan on Thursday as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side look to end a four-game winless run.

Despite an improved performance during a 1-1 draw with Liverpool on Sunday, questions remain over United's record away from home, with the Red Devils without a win on the road in 11 games.

Match preview

Following an international break during which United were roundly written off against Liverpool, the Red Devils produced a performance which proved to the watching world that they are, if nothing else, a team capable of hitting opponents at pace and one able to carry out a specified set of tactics to nullify the opponent.

With Liverpool, however, it could be said that Jurgen Klopp's tactical approach played into United's ability to break quickly into the space left by midfielders and full-backs pushing up the pitch.

What remains to be seen, on the other hand, is whether United possess the acumen necessary to break down teams who put men behind the ball, close down passing lanes, and generally make the game a slow, stunted affair.

Indeed, if you were to look at United's last European venture, a deeply forgettable 0-0 draw at AZ Alkmaar, or their 1-0 defeat at the hands of Newcastle United, you would have to conclude that Solskjaer's men look lost when they are required to break teams down.

Victory in Belgrade will take United top of Group L, but they will need to show a different, more nuanced side to their game if they are to claim a win against a Partizan side which is set to sit deep on Thursday.

United's prospects are not helped by the fact that Partizan, currently fifth in the Serbian SuperLiga, have an impressive record at home this season.

In nine home games this term, Partizan have only lost once - a surprise 2-1 defeat to Vozdovac - and conceded on just seven occasions over that period.

A recent 2-0 home win over city rivals Red Star Belgrade in the Eternal derby was a demonstration of how this Partizan team can hold firm and exercise patient control over the game.

The hosts expertly kept the affair under wraps against superior opposition on paper, reducing the away side to just one shot all game, before Seydouba Soumah and Zoran Tosic netted late goals to hand manager Savo Milosevic a huge win.

Partizan will, no doubt, see that result last month as a blueprint for how to beat a United team that has failed to show much composure going forward so far this season.

Recent Partizan form: WWWLWL
Recent Manchester United form: LWDDLD

Team News

United continue to be without Paul Pogba as the French midfielder recovers from a foot injury sustained in September.

While the Frenchman is unlikely to be used in Belgrade, Solskjaer suggested that Jesse Lingard could return in time for the game, while Luke Shaw is not too far behind.

Defenders Axel Tuanzebe and Diogo Dalot are not expected to feature having both recently suffered knocks, while Solskjaer also revealed after Liverpool that Nemanja Matic was carrying an injury. Eric Bailly and Timothy Fosu-Mensah remain the only long-term absentees.

Partizan's only injury concern lies with former Liverpool player Lazar Markovic, who has an abductor problem which could keep him sidelined until late December.

Partizan possible starting lineup:
Stojkovic; Miletic, Ostojic, Pavlovic, Urosevic; Natkho, Zdjelar; Asano, Soumah, Tosic; Umar

Manchester United possible starting lineup:
Romero; Young, Rojo, Jones, Wan-Bissaka; McTominay, Fred, Pereira; Mata, James, Martial

We say: Partizan 0-0 Manchester United

This will be a harder game for United than many expect against a team buoyed by a strong home record and with nothing to lose in front of their own supporters. Solskjaer's side are likely to dominate possession but there is little evidence to suggest that they will have the cut and thrust required to break down Partizan's two organised banks of four.

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