Manchester United are a team steeped in tradition, and their biggest nights have come on the European stage. However, while most of their successes have come in the prestigious Champions
League, the Europa League has also seen the club enjoy memorable nights, as well as bitterly disappointing occasions.
The Manchester United Europa League results can easily be separated into the UEFA Cup era and the Europa League era. Indeed, the club’s most famous manager Sir Alex Ferguson didn’t venture into the secondary competition until the 2011-12 season. This was forced upon the club after United were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stage.
The Europa League isn’t a tournament that the big clubs tend to take seriously until it reaches the business end; with times likely to play under strength elevens in the opening rounds of the
competition. However, the 2019-20 season will begin with Manchester United in Europa League group stage action. The club’s aim at the beginning of the season would have been to be playing in
The Champions League; however devastating form under Jose Mourinho and then Ole Gunnar Solskjaer meant that the Red Devils couldn’t avoid the secondary competition. Ahead of the Manchester United Europa League fixtures being decided let’s look at how they have performed in the competition previously.
Manchester United Europa League Overview Season Stage Eliminated by
- 1976-77: Second round, Juventus
- 1980-81: First round, Widzew Lodz
- 1982-83: First round, Valencia
- 1984-85: Quarterfinals, Videoton
- 1986-87: Banned, N/A
- 1988-89: Banned, N/A
- 1992-1993: First round, Torpedo Moscow
- 1995-1996: First round, Rotor Volgograd
- 2011-12: Round of 16, Athletic Bilbao
- 2015-16: Round of 16, Liverpool
- 2016-17: Winners, N/A
Manchester United Europa League 1970s
The early history of Manchester United in Europe consists of European success in the form of their
Champions League triumph in 1968. However, the turn of a new decade brought with it a change in fortunes that saw the club unable to compete on the continent. The 1976-77 season saw the club entered into the UEFA Cup for the very first time, and in the opening round they came up against Ajax.
It was a fixture between two heavyweights of the European game and was a cagey affair. Despite falling 1-0 behind in the first leg in the Netherlands, the Red Devils recovered strongly to register a first ever Manchester United win at Old Trafford in the competition. This came in the second leg to progress to the second round to face Juventus.
In a fixture which is again steeped in European legacies, United once again made their home advantage count by winning 1-0, before succumbing to a 3-0 defeat back in Italy. This would begin a period of time where Manchester United in Europa League would be a common theme.
Manchester United Europa League 1980s
The most prolonged time that fans saw Manchester United in the Europa League was in the 80s. The Red Devils competed in five competitions over this period, and never got further than the
quarterfinal stage. The first year which they took part was the 1980-81 season where the club was knocked out in the first round by Polish side Widzew Lodz.
This exit was following by another first-round defeat against Valencia in the following season. United did, however, get some joy in the Cup Winners’ Cup, which was a standalone tournament that later in 1999 joined with the UEFA Cup to form a more significant competition.
In this tournament, United reached the semi-final stage before being knocked out by Juventus. The 1984-85 season against saw Manchester United in Europa League competition. After
overcoming Raba ETO Gyor, PSV Eindhoven and Dundee United; the club were eventually knocked out by minnows Videoton.
The end of the ’80s saw Manchester United qualify for the secondary European competition, but they were unable to compete since they were banned. The period between 1985 and 1990 saw no English club take part in European competitions due to the role that the Liverpool fans played in the Heysel Stadium Disaster; which resulted in 39 deaths and 600 injuries. The British Prime Minister at the time Margaret Thatcher encouraged the Football Association to remove all club from the competition, and UEFA Banned English clubs indefinitely.
Manchester United Europa League 1990s
The Red Devils became the first club to taste European success again following the ban, as the club beat Barcelona in the 1991 Cup Winners’ Cup. However, it wasn’t until the 1992-93 season when Manchester United’s Europa League form was tested again. It was a disappointing night for the club as they were knocked out in the first round of the competition at the hands of Russian side Torpedo Moscow.
It wasn’t until three years later when Manchester United were given a chance to improve in the competition.<.p>
However, they failed miserably once again falling at the first round stage at the hands of another Russian side; this time Rotor Volgograd. On both of these occasions, Manchester United League started as the heavily favoured odds-on favourites to progress.
This was to be the last time Manchester United in Europa League action occurred for 17 years.
Manchester United Europa League Stats Topic Player’s Amount Appearances
- Paul Pogba & Chris Smalling 16
- Goals: Zlatan Ibrahimovic 5
- Assists: Marcus Rashford 4
- Yellow Cards: Ander Herrera 5
- Red Cards: Eric Bailly 1
Manchester United Europa League 10s
Between 1995 and 2012, Manchester United had an excellent record in the Champions League. They had won the competition in 1999 and 2008 and twice lost finals. However, the 2012-13 season saw the club dropped into the tournament after finishing third in their Champions’ League group which consisted of Benfica, Basel and Otelul Galati. This was to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s one and only stint in the Europa League. The club effectively beat Ajax in the round of 32 stage but were ultimately outclassed by an unknown Athletic Bilbao team in the next round. This was a major upset in the Manchester United Europa League betting as the Red Devils were hugely expected to blow away their opponents convincingly.
The 2015-16 season also saw Manchester United in Europa League action after finishing third in their Champions’ League group, but once again they were beaten in the round of 16 stage by Liverpool.
This was the first time that the two clubs had ever met in European competition, but it’s a meeting that all united fans will be hoping to forget quickly. This result effectively marked the end of the Louis van Gaal era at Old Trafford and the manager was subsequently replaced by Jose Mourinho.
Manchester United Europa League Success
For the first time in the club’s history, they began the 2016-17 season in the Europa League group stage. They were pitted against Fenerbahce, Feyenoord and Zorya Luhansk, and they
comprehensively finished top of the group with help from Manchester United Europa League top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Manchester United then went onto comfortably beat Saint-Etienne, Rostov, and Anderlecht in the next three stages to reach a first Europa League semi-final in the club’s history. It was a closely fought fixture against Spanish outfit Celta Vigo, but Manchester United eventually got past them by virtue of their 1-0 win in Spain.
Manchester United Europa League results meant that they had reached the final and would face off against a resurgent and youthful Ajax side in Stockholm, Sweden.
The match itself was a Mourinho masterclass. Manchester United cut off every avenue for the Dutch side to attack and the Red Devils hit the young team with two hammer blows either side of half time after Manchester United Europa League goals from Paul Pogba and Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
The odds at the beginning of the night would have shown the punters just how fancied United were; they would have been heavily odds on to win the final.
This remains the only success for Manchester United in Europa League competition, and the club will be looking to change that next season as they will compete in the 2019-20 Europa League.
Manchester United Europa League odds will show you that they will be one of the teams to beat, and they will start as one of the favourites to add a second European competition win to their name.
Manchester United Europa League 2019-20
The Red Devils will undoubtedly start the new season as one of the favourites to end the season as winners of the competition. This is because of the dominance that English clubs have had over the rest of Europe over the past season. Tottenham, Liverpool, Arsenal and Chelsea all got to the finals of European competitions and in doing so; England became the first country ever to have a blanket on all the UEFA club competitions. The domination that the English clubs have over Europe is evident in the betting for next seasons competitions already with Manchester United and Manchester City the early favourites to win the Europa League and Champions League respectively.
The price for the Red Devils to succeed in the competition could drop further depending on how the season goes for the club. Should their league form be bad and a place in the top four in the Premier League be beyond their reach, then the Europa League could be the club’s best chance of winning a place in the Champions League could be by winning the Europa League final. However, it is a dangerous plan to start the season like that as Arsenal had hoped to win the Europa League in order to salvage their 2018-19 season. They were the heavy favourites with bookmakers due to the ongoing talk at Chelsea surrounding their manager and star play.
Ultimately they were beaten. This just highlights that in a one-off game anything can happen, and Manchester United must take the Europa League seriously if they want to win it.
Manchester United Europa League Group Stage 2019-20
It is highly likely that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will play a weakened team for the majority of the group stage games, since the club will be coming up against teams that they can beat with ease. This would be a perfect opportunity to rest star players like Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba, and give game time to players that don’t appear for Manchester United very often. Not only will this encourage the amount of options that the manager will have later in the season, but also it will help to keep squad morale high. Over recent seasons, the competition has been used to blood youngsters into the team; with Rashford scoring his first two goals in this very competition. This could be the same in the coming season with talented youngsters such as Mason Greenwood and Tahith Chong likely to be used.
This is something that football gamblers should be aware of since these players could alter the chances of Manchester United winning, especially if they are playing in an away game at a hostile environment.
The Europa League is also a perfect opportunity for Solskjaer to play his second choice goalkeeper; with Sergio Romero one of the best number two’s in world football. This would give Manchester United the experience that they need to navigate the first part of the competition with ease. Punters would be aware that Romero is the cup goalkeeper, and this wouldn’t affect the chances of winning since as we have said, he is a solid goalkeeper, and would easily be a number one choice at most other clubs in the Premier League.
Overall, Manchester United should successfully navigate whatever group they are drawn in and progress into the latter rounds of the competition after Christmas. It would be impossible to bet against the Red Devils winning their Europa League group, and then going onto win every other game that they are playing in. Punters could also find an interesting market, and bet on a final consisting of Manchester United against Arsenal.