Manchester United, 2016/17 UEFA Europa League winners and 2019/20 semi-finalists, are in a good position to reach the semi-finals when they host Granada at Old Trafford with a 2-0 lead on aggregate following their triumph in southern Spain.
• United competed in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League, but two losses in their last two Group H matches left them in third place with nine points, behind Paris Saint-Germain and RB Leipzig. They have since gone through two UEFA Europa League qualifiers, eliminating Real Sociedad (0-4 away, 0-0 at home) before beating AC Milan in the round of 16 (1-1 at home and 0-1 at address)
• Granada have had a spectacular run in their first European campaign. After starting in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League, the Spanish side was second in Group E behind PSV Eindhoven before eliminating Napoli in the round of 32 and Molde in the round of 16 with identical results: winning 2-0 in home and losing 2-1 at home.
• United achieved their fourth victory on Spanish soil in the first leg after beating Granada with goals from Marcus Rashford (31 ‘) and, in the last minute, from Bruno Fernandes. It was the first game for the Spanish team against an English rival.
• United have won just nine of 27 home games against Spanish rivals (twelve draws and six losses) and only one of their last ten with a record of five draws and four losses. The victory over Real Sociedad in the round of 32 in Italy ended a nine-match winless streak against Spanish rivals. The last game of that sequence was a 2-1 loss to Sevilla in Cologne in last year’s UEFA Europa League semi-final, a game in which they had been ahead thanks to a penalty converted by Fernandes.
• United’s record in two-legged ties against Spanish clubs is seven wins and nine losses on aggregate. He has been eliminated from European competitions by Spanish rivals in each of the last three seasons: by Sevilla in the knockout stages of the 2017/18 UEFA Champions League (0-0 away, 1-2 at home) and in the Last year’s UEFA Europa League semi-finals. He was also eliminated by Barcelona in the 2018/19 UEFA Champions League quarter-finals (0-1 home, 3-0 away).
• United finished third in the last Premier League, when they also lost in three semi-finals: the English League Cup, the FA Cup and the UEFA Europa League. His position in the league allowed him to compete in the group stage of the UEFA Champions League for the 23rd time.
• Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s team made a strong start in Group H of the Champions League, beating Paris 1-2 on the road and Leipzig 5-0, but lost three of their last four games (2-1 to İstanbul Başakşehir, 1-3 at home to Paris and 3-2 to Leipzig) to drop to third place.
• The Manchester giant have been to the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals twice, winning both ties in overtime: 3-2 on aggregate against Anderlecht in 2016/17 (1-1 away, 2- 1 at home) with Rashford’s decisive goal at Old Trafford, and 1-0 in their one-game tie against Copenhagen in Cologne last season thanks to a Bruno Fernandes penalty.
• United are unbeaten in their UEFA Europa League quarter-final matches with 12 wins and four draws, winning five straight before drawing in the spring against Real Sociedad and Milan. They have not conceded more than one goal in any of their UEFA Europa League quarter-final matches since losing 3-2 to Athletic Club in 2011/12. They have kept a clean sheet in five of their last seven games.
• The English have been winners in all 19 UEFA qualifiers in which they have won the first leg away, the last being in the 16th round against Real Sociedad. On six previous occasions they have successfully defended a 2-0 home lead, winning the second leg in the first five crosses but losing to Ajax 1-2 at Old Trafford in the most recent, in the round of 32. of the UEFA Europa League 2011/12.
• Granada achieved a historic first qualification for a European competition after finishing seventh in the 2019/20 League after being promoted the previous season.
• Diego Martínez’s team started the club’s first continental campaign in the UEFA Europa League second qualifying round, opening with a 0-4 win against Albanian Teuta before continuing on a roll with a 2-0 win in home against Georgia’s Locomotive Tbilisi and subsequently 1-3 in the play-offs against Malmö in southern Sweden.
• The Andalusian team had an impressive start in Group E, beating PSV 1-2, and although they lost in Spain against the Dutch team (0-1), two wins against Omonia (0-2 away and 2- 1 at home) and two goalless draws against PAOK allowed them to advance to the round of 32 after the loss to PSV.
• Granada won their first four UEFA matches away from Spain before drawing their final group match in Thessaloniki and losing the second leg of their qualifying rounds in Naples and Budapest to Molde.
• This is the first time that Granada have lost the first leg of a European tie at home.
• Rashford’s next game in UEFA club competition will be his 50th.
• United star Edinson Cavani needs a goal to reach 50 in UEFA club competition.
• United have three players with experience in the Spanish League: David de Gea (Atlético de Madrid 2008-11), Eric Bailly (Espanyol 2013-15, Villarreal 2015-16) and Juan Mata (Real Madrid Castilla 2006/07, Valencia 2007-11).
• Roberto Soldado, who scored in both Granada games in the round of 16 against Molde, spent two seasons in England with Tottenham (2013-15), scoring 16 goals in 76 games for the London club.
• Brazilian winger Kenedy is on loan for a season at Granada from Chelsea, with whom he has scored three goals in 27 games. He has also played in the Premier League, on loan, at Watford and Newcastle.
• Other Granada players with brief Premier League experience are Jesús Vallejo (Wolverhampton), Dimitri Foulquier and Luis Suárez (both at Watford). In addition, Venezuelan midfielder Yangel Herrera is on loan to the Andalusian club from Manchester City, although he has never played for the first team of United’s city rival.
• Bruno Fernandes is teammates in the Portugal team of Granada players Rui Silva and Domingos Duarte.
• Manchester United are the only club in the quarter-finals this season that knows what it’s like to win the UEFA Europa League, although Ajax also lifted the trophy in 1992, when it was called the UEFA Cup.
• United are the only one of eight participants in last season’s UEFA Europa League quarter-finals to have returned to the same phase of the competition in 2020/21. Only four other clubs have reached the UEFA Europa League quarter-finals in consecutive campaigns: Benfica (twice), Sevilla (three seasons in a row), Basel and Arsenal.
• Granada are the only survivor of the five clubs that participated in the knockout stage of the UEFA Europa League for the first time this season. Antwerp, Hoffenheim, Leicester and Wolfsberg were eliminated in the round of 32.
• The winner of this tie will meet Roma or Ajax in the semi-finals.
• Manchester United’s record in three UEFA penalty shootouts is one win and two losses:
4-5 vs Videoton, 1984/85 UEFA Cup quarter-finals
3-4 against Torpedo Moskva, 1992/93 UEFA Cup first round
6-5 against Chelsea, 2007/2008 UEFA Champions League final
• Granada have never played a penalty shoot-out in UEFA competition