How can I follow the game? Thursday’s Europa League fixture at Sukru Saracoglu Stadium kicks off at the slightly earlier time of 18:00 GMT and will be broadcast live on BT Sport in the UK. MUTV subscribers can tune in to the live matchday programme at 17:00 GMT and the club’s official channel will show the game in full from midnight. Fans around the world can also stay up to date with the action as it happens via ManUtd.com’s live match blog and by following our official Twitter account @ManUtd.
Set the scene for me… The away tie against Fenerbahce is Manchester United’s fourth game in Group A of this season’s Europa League. If United win in Istanbul and Feyenoord fail to beat Zorya Luhansk in Ukraine, the Reds will go top of the group and open up a five-point gap to the Turkish team with two games left to play. Jose Mourinho’s side will hope to get back among the goals after somehow being shut out by Burnley in Saturday’s Premier League goalless draw.
I can’t believe we didn’t score the other day… United had 37 shots against the Clarets, the club’s highest tally in a Premier League game since Opta records began, and will be looking to get over that frustration with another victory over Fenerbahce. Mourinho’s men found the net four times against them in last month’s meeting at Old Trafford and a similar scoreline would go down nicely.
Who’s likely to play for us? We could see a different team to the one that faced Fenerbahce in the reverse fixture. Eric Bailly and Antonio Valencia are out injured, while Chris Smalling, Michael Carrick and Memphis Depay were not in the 21-man squad that flew to Istanbul on Wednesday morning. Phil Jones, who has yet to make an appearance this season, has been included after injury, with Anthony Martial and Henrikh Mkhitaryan also travelling. Mourinho may provide more updates in his press conference at 16:00 GMT on Wednesday.
How have our opponents got on in their last few games? After a shaky start to the season, the Yellow Submarine have gone unbeaten in the league since September, when Bursaspor beat them 1-0 in Istanbul. They won 5-0 at the weekend, with former Reds striker Robin van Persie scoring twice in their second consecutive victory since losing in Manchester. However, they remain in fifth place in the Turkish Super Lig, eight points adrift of the leaders, their city rivals Istanbul BB.
It was a pretty comfortable win over Fenerbahce last month, right? United won October’s home game 4-1 thanks to a Paul Pogba double and goals from Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial. Not many players have scored against United at Old Trafford and been applauded by the majority of the stadium, but that’s exactly what happened when van Persie netted the visitors’ late consolation.
What’s United’s record like in Turkey? We’ve played seven games in the country – against Galatasaray, Fenerbahce, Besiktas and Bursaspor – and have won three, drawn two and lost two. The most recent victory came in 2010, when goals from Darren Fletcher, Gabriel Obertan and Bebe earned a 3-0 win over Bursaspor in the Champions League group phase. Perhaps our most famous trip to Turkey was the goalless draw against Galatasaray in November 1993, when the Reds were greeted with ‘Welcome to Hell’ banners. Sir Alex Ferguson called that night “the single most intimidating atmosphere” he had ever experienced and it’s likely the Fenerbahce supporters will try to provide a similar reception.
Any stats we should be aware of? Wayne Rooney needs one more goal to equal Ruud van Nistelrooy’s record as United’s all-time top scorer in Europe; the club captain currently has 37 strikes. Both forwards netted against Fenerbahce in the 6-2 win back in 2004, with Wayne famously scoring a debut hat-trick and Ruud adding United’s fifth of the night.
What have our players been saying? “It’s very important for us to go to Turkey and get the three points to secure our passage to the knockout rounds of the competition. The home fans bring a lot of support to their team and it’s important that we prepare right, stay calm and hopefully come home with the victory.” – Marcos Rojo, speaking to MUTV.
Which other Europa League games should we look out for? It’s worth keeping track of how Feyenoord fare away at Zorya Luhansk in another 18:00 GMT kick-off – the Dutch side are level on points in Group A with United. The Reds’ fellow Premier League side Southampton will look to get their Europa League campaign back on track as they host the now managerless Inter Milan at 20:05 GMT after losing 1-0 at the San Siro in the previous meeting.