UEFA Europa League

Real Betis v Man Utd: Hosts' attitude can help our Bet Builder

Manchester United midfielder Casemiro
Casemiro's domestic ban means he should feature in Spain on Thursday

Manchester United have one foot in the Europa League quarter-finals but Kevin Hatchard expects Real Betis to go down swinging.

Betis v Manchester United
Thursday 16 March, 17:45
Live on BT Sport 1

Pellegrini admits Betis were outclassed

It was looking good for Real Betis at Old Trafford until Brazilian wing-wizard Antony jinked inside on his favoured left foot (he takes the word favoured to extremes), and bamboozled veteran keeper Claudio Bravo with a stunning drive.

Then the team from the Benito Villamarin rather collapsed, and former Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini admitted the margin of defeat for his side could have been even greater.

Betis followed up their Manchester mauling with a decent 1-1 draw at Villarreal. They are still in the mix for Champions League qualification, as they are only three points off the top four in La Liga, and they have only lost seven of their 25 top-flight games.

However, there has been a slowdown in their performances of late - at home they have won just one of their last seven games, and they were dumped out of the Copa del Rey (a tournament they won last season) by Osasuna on penalties after a 2-2 draw.

Nabil Fekir is still out with an injury, and defender Luiz Felipe is expected to join him on the sidelines. Bustling striker Borja Iglesias didn't start the first leg at Old Trafford, and he could be benched again, with on-loan Leicester City forward Ayoze Perez having scored in the first leg.

Win was perfect antidote to Anfield pain

Manchester United's performance against Real Betis last week was far from perfect, but the 4-1 win wiped away some of the pain and shame of the 7-0 humiliation against Liverpool at Anfield.

Marcus Rashford's early opener (we tipped him to score at odds-against) set the tone, Antony scored a wonderful long-range curler and at times United played eye-catching football. However, there were errors too. Betis were allowed to grab a fine equaliser and hit a post with the score at 1-1.

Erik Ten Hag.jpg

United were held to a 0-0 draw by struggling Southampton in the Premier League at the weekend, largely because of an early red card for Casemiro. The Brazilian went in hard on Carlos Alcaraz, and despite Red Devils manager Erik ten Hag's protests, the decision to dismiss the former Real Madrid midfielder for the second time this season was reasonable.

Casemiro cried tears of frustration, but he must now serve a lengthy domestic ban. As it turned out, Saints could have won the game at Old Trafford - they struck the woodwork on multiple occasions, and tested David de Gea.

United have a healthy lead here, but it would be a surprise to see Ten Hag take too many risks, despite an FA Cup quarter-final against Fulham looming. There may be some rotation in the full-back positions, there is talk of a start for Jadon Sancho and a rare rest for Rashford, but don't expect a reserve side.

United's lead makes it tough one to call

Manchester United powered to victory in the second half against Betis last week, but I'm loath to back them here at 2.111/10. It's not a game the visitors need to win, and despite Betis' recent form, the Spanish side could be quite competitive here, especially if the likes of Sergio Canales and Borja Iglesias return to the XI.

At time of writing, some of the Bet Builder markets weren't in operation, but when they are, keep an eye on the following.

We can start a Bet Builder by backing Antony to have two shots or more - the former Ajax winger has had two shots or more in 11 of his last 14 appearances in all competitions.

With Casemiro banned at home, he should start here, so we can back him to commit two fouls or more. He is joint-12th in the Premier League in the list of fouls committed, with 35 racked up so far.

It's also worth throwing in Both Teams To Score - Betis have to go for it, Pellegrini says they will, and they'll inevitably leave gaps at the back.

I'll combine BTTS with Over 7.5 Corners in the match on the Bet Builder at 2.26/5. Betis' games in La Liga average 8.8 corners, while Manchester United's in the Premier League average 9.5. There were 12 corners in the first leg.

Back Both Teams To Score and Over 7.5 Corners @


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