Europa League: Why Man United need to top group L
Europa League: Why Man United need to top group L
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Europa League: Why Man United need to top group L

Thursday night sees Manchester United hosting AZ Alkmaar in their final Europa League group fixture.

Having just recovered their poise in the Premier League and Europa League football after Christmas already assured, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may be tempted to rest a few of his star names when the Red Devils welcome Alkmaar to Old Trafford. But given that this is a top-spot decider, Ole is advised to not rest his best.

Opponents if United finish 2nd:

Among the teams lying in wait should United not top their group is Ajax, Inter Milan, Red Bull Salzburg, Benfica and the Spanish duo of Sevilla and Espanyol.

If United were to finish top, they'd face an unseeded side with possibilities including Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Olympiacos and Club Bruges, all far less daunting.

Opponents if United top Group L:

If United were to finish top, they'd face an unseeded side with possibilities including Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk, Olympiacos and Club Bruges, all far less daunting.

Alternatively, they could draw a side that finished second in their Europa League group, with potential opponents including APOEL Nicosia, Malmo, Dynamo Kyiv, Krasnodar, LASK Linz, Cluj, Young Boys, Ludogorets or Ferencvaros.

The final tables will be known following the sixth matchday on Thursday night, with the draw taking place on Monday.

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