The best stats from the Reds' Europa League run
Manchester United face FC Copenhagen in Cologne this evening (Monday), as the Europa League enters its ‘final-eight’ stage.
The Reds have made serene progress in the tournament so far, topping Group L by four points before seeing off Club Brugge and LASK, 6-1 and 7-1 on aggregate respectively, to make it to the quarter-finals.
United’s impressive run has helped generate an equally remarkable set of stats, which could be further improved upon with victory at Stadion Koln.
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Never before has a United player topped the Europa League goalscoring charts at the end of a campaign, but that could soon change as Bruno Fernandes is among six men currently leading the tournament’s scoring stakes with six goals, although five of these came for former club Sporting Lisbon. The Portuguese is tied with former team-mate Andraz Sporar, as well as Daicha Kamada (Eintracht Frankfurt), Alfredo Morelos (Rangers), Edin Visca (Istanbul Basaksehir) and Diogo Jota (Wolves). With countryman Jota the only member of that quintet still in the competition, Bruno could be in pole position to pull clear – although we’re sure Mason Greenwood, on five goals, and Anthony Martial, with four, may have something to say about that!
THE BATTLE OF THE IBERIANS
The Reds are also well-represented at the summit of the assist charts, with Juan Mata currently second on five and Bruno level with Qarabag’s Uros Matic – brother of Nemanja – on four. Again, the bulk of Fernandes’s efforts in this regard came while he was in Portugal, although if his recent Premier League efforts are anything to go by, he could soon surpass Braga’s Wenderson Galeno (six) as the Europa League’s most creative player.
Fuelled by those convincing knock-out wins over Club Brugge and LASK, United have scored 23 goals in the Europa League proper in 2019/20, which is three more than any other side. Monday’s opponents, FC Copenhagen, have 12 – the lowest of the five sides left in the competition who competed during the group stages (Bayer Leverkusen, Internazionale and Shakhtar Donetsk all dropped out of the Champions League). Unsurprisingly, the Reds also boast the best goal difference (+19), having only conceded four goals (Inter, with one, and Leverkusen, with three, can beat that but again have played fewer games in the competition).
SOLID AS A ROCK
Amid all this talk about goalscoring, it’s important to recognise the efforts of our defence too. Along with Basel, United have kept the most clean sheets (seven) of any club in this season’s Europa League, with Sergio Romero two clear at the top of the individual goalkeepers’ list, with six shut-outs. David De Gea played in the 0-0 draw with AZ Alkmaar on the other occasion in which our backline has gone unbreached.
OLE’S SUPER SQUAD
Teden Mengi became the 38th different Red to feature in this season’s competition when he came on for the latter stages of the 2-1 home win over LASK. That total, boosted by the six debutants who appeared against Astana, is 10 more than any other club in 2019/20.
HARD TO BEAT
United are unbeaten in 14 Europa League knock-out matches since a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool at Anfield in the round of 16 in March 2016. Since then, we’ve drawn with the Merseysiders at Old Trafford and seen off Saint Etienne, Rostov, Anderlecht, Celta Vigo, Club Brugge and LASK over two legs, plus Ajax in the 2017 Stockholm final (nine wins and five draws in total).
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