Home » Europa League, Europe, Latest » EL Match Preview: Ajax vs Man United

Two clubs with seven European Cup successes between them go head-to-head in the Europa League, with Ajax set to play host to Manchester United.

Continental giants from Holland and England will lock horns in the last 32 of a competition both would rather have avoided.

Shock eliminations at the group stage of theUEFA Champions League have forced Ajaxand United into Thursday night football, with both having laid out much grander plans before the season got underway.

They are, however, determined to make the best of the situation, and both clubs have voiced their desire to go all the way in the Europa League.

Ajax are one of only three sides to have tasted European Cup/Champions League, UEFA Cup/Europa League and Cup Winners’ Cup success, while United are looking to join that exclusive club this season.

Ajax’s record against English opposition is not the best, with seven outings having come and gone since they last tasted victory, and they will be aware that United will pose another considerable test in midweek.

The Red Devils have won six of their previous 10 outings against Eredivisie sides, but have only secured one victory in five on Dutch soil.

The reigning Premier League champions find themselves absent from the knockout stage of the Champions League for the first time in six years and are set to take in UEFA Cup/Europa League action for the first time since 1995/96.

They have only been involved in four UEFA Cup fixtures under Sir Alex Ferguson, and all of those games finished in draws.

Ajax and United have only met on one previous occasion in European competition, with Tommy Docherty’s Red Devils securing a 2-1 aggregate success in the first round of the 1976/77 UEFA Cup.

Ajax picked up their first competitive victory of 2012 on Saturday, as they saw off NAC Breda, but that win came at a price.

Midfielder Eyong Enoh suffered a hamstring tear and he joins a number of other senior stars on the casualty list.

Theo Janssen, Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, Derk Boerrigter, Gregory van der Wiel and Andre Ooijer all miss out, but left-back Nicolai Boilesen could come back into Frank de Boer’s thoughts after five months on the sidelines.

Rio Ferdinand will skipper Manchester United in Amsterdam, with Ferguson having taken a strong squad with him to Holland.

Ferdinand takes over the captain’s armband as Patrice Evra is rested.

Ryan Giggs (ankle) also misses out, as does Dimitar Berbatov, who was injured in training on Tuesday.

Nani (foot) and Phil Jones (ankle) return after missing the last four matches, but Anders Lindegaard, Nemanja Vidic, Anderson and Michael Owen will play no part.

Source: Skysports

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