The Europa League is a real slog each season and there always seem to be an interminable number of games before it gets interesting.
But we are just about at that stage now and Manchester United face Anderlecht this evening in the first leg of the quarter final in Belgium.
The Belgian side are in the play offs of their league campaign having finished top of the table in the regular season.
They won ten and drew four of their 15 games at home this season so they aren’t accustomed to losing on their own patch. But nor are they used to playing a team of the quality of Manchester United.
Jose Mourinho stated this week that Wayne Rooney remains sidelined with an ankle problem. The striker didn’t travel to Belgium but could be available for the visit of Chelsea at the weekend.
Antonio Valencia did travel with the squad having missed the last two games through injury.
Chris Smalling, Juan Mata and Phil Jones are all still out and Ander Herrera and Eric Bailly are one yellow away from suspension in this competition.
Jose Mourinho will likely take a cautious approach to the game but will also want at least one away goal to take back to Old Trafford.
Anderlecht are a decent side going forward and could easily cause Manchester United problems in defence.
But TFF believes that Manchester United are easily the strongest team in the competition. And with their league form hindering their chances of a top four finish of late, there will be added importance on winning the competition this term.
Many will see this one as a nailed on draw for a solid United team that is still in transition. But TFF reckons Manchester United will take the points in a decent performance.
TFF Prediction: Anderlecht 0 – 2 Manchester United