15th Feb 2012 | Football

Ajax v Manchester United Tip

Rooney: In hot form

The Reds may surprise their hosts by trying to get the tie won in Holland

The big questions when betting on Manchester United matches in the Europa League are what team will Sir Alex Ferguson field, and how motivated will they be?

The answer to the first query appears to be that the boss will send out a pretty strong starting line-up against Ajax. Although Giggs, Berbatov and Evra haven’t flown to Amsterdam, the majority of the first team squad did board the plane. The manager has always been a believer that winning is a habit, so he appears loathe to throw in the towel and damage morale.

Of course the team selection would doubtless have been rather different had there been a tough Premier League fixture coming up at the weekend. Instead, United have a break coming up, having exited the FA Cup early. That won’t be the case when the second leg comes round next Thursday so Ferguson will be desperate to get the job almost done in the Amsterdam ArenA.

That motivation to get crucial away goals should be pivotal against opponents who look fairly ordinary despite their fabulous history. Ajax are only sixth in the Dutch league table and have won just once in their last four outings. A 4-2 defeat at Feyenoord was followed by a 2-0 defeat to FC Utrecht in their last home game.

Javier Hernandez looks poised to line-up alongside Wayne Rooney - a partnership that should cause trouble. Ferguson will want the luxury of being able to rest players at Old Trafford next week so expect the Red Devils to keep pushing even if they get their noses in front. With that in mind I recommend backing United to win by 2 goals at best odds of 9/2 with PaddyPower.

1pt Man Utd to win by 2 goals 9/2 with Paddypower
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Odds correct at time of publishing: 15:57 15th Feb, 2012 but subject to change

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