Ajax Man Utd Odds : Europa League Betting sees Fergusons men favourites in Dutch clash

Manchester United went from Champions’ League finalists last season to the humiliation of finishing third in their group this time around.

It means that with this week’s return of European football, they and local rivals City, find themselves competing in the Europa League round of 32.

Perhaps then, they should just be thankful that it does not see them making some gruelling hike across the continent to play a barely heard of Eastern European side on a less than perfect playing surface.

Instead they go head to head with a familiar opposition in Ajax with Thursday’s first leg game being competed at the impressive Amsterdam Arena.

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Ajax are another club who find themselves in the Europa League as a result of their failure to qualify from their Champions’ League group.

Fair enough, though, they were never going to get much of a sniff with Real Madrid and Lyon both in their group.

Surprisingly, this is actually only the second time these two clubs have faced one another in European competition. The last time they met was way back in 1977, with Tom Docherty’s United edging their Dutch opponents out 2-1 on aggregate.

Incidentally, both of these sides find themselves chasing 1st place in their respective domestic leagues, despite both starting the season as favourites.

While United are struggling to keep pace with their local rivals, Manchester City; Ajax find themselves eight points adrift of AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie.

With this being United’s only game this week, it appears likely that Sir Alex Ferguson will send out a fairly strong line-up.

He will, however, be without the services of long term absentees Phil Jones and Nemanja Vidic, while returning players such as Chris Smalling will no doubt be given playing time.

Ajax, meanwhile, are without a number of key players as Gregory van der Weil, Theo Janssen and Andre Ooijer all set to miss out through injury.

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