Sevilla vs Manchester United: Europa League Preview and Prediction
Two recent winners of the Europa League meet in the competition’s semi-finals this Sunday night when Sevilla take on the Red Devils.
Five-time champions of Europe’s second competition, Sevilla will be up against an English opponent for the second match in a row after an 88th-minute winner helped them to go past Nuno Espirito Santo’s Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Manchester United looked uncomfortable against FC Copenhagen in the quarter-finals and that is something Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would look to improve from this progressive Manchester United squad.
Head to Head Stats
Out of the last three times the sides have played each other, surprisingly it is Sevilla who have always come up with flying colors. United have lost two and drawn one against the Spanish side and their last game against them was an embarrassing one. Manchester United lost 2-1 at Old Trafford in the Champions League Round of 16.
Both teams have had impressive seasons. Sevilla are unbeaten in the past 19 games across all competitions, a run that started and is still on the move. The Andalusian outfit have managed to keep five clean sheets in their last eight games and have conceded only once in that time.
Diego Carlos has been the core of this robust backline but speculations suggest that he will be departing soon.
Manchester United fought hard to get a win out of the game against Copenhagen but Anthony Martial was one bright spot for United in the entire game. He penetrated the Copenhagen defense easily but the Danish side’s goalkeeper came in his way on numerous occasions.
Manchester United have lost just one game out of their last 24, the loss coming against Chelsea in the semi-final of the FA Cup.
In their last five games, Manchester United have won three, drawn one and lost one. Sevilla on the other end, have won four and drawn one in their last five games.
Despite the hectic schedule of the competition, neither side have any fresh injury issues entering the semi-finals. Sevilla boss Julen Lopetgui has a full squad to choose from while Solskjaer will miss the defender trio of Luke Shaw, Phil Jones and Axel Tuanzebe.
Shaw has not been included in Manchester United’s squad for the competition as a result of an ankle injury in July, while Jones and Tuanzebe will both be on the sidelines.
Ever Banega vs Paul Pogba
Banega was one of the crucial members of the playing XI that knocker United out in the Champions League Round of 16 in the 17/18 season. Paul Pogba was a part of that United squad too but he was benched by the then Manchester boss Jose Mourinho.
Banega with his creative mind caused United problems as United struggled to create clear-cut chances at Old Trafford. The Argentina did very well in the La Liga this season too, scoring three and assisting seven.
We are certainly sure that Pogba will be starting in this fixture and this means the battle between the two will be a tough, physical one. Pogba has not been in the best of his forms since coming back but he still has the cheeky through balls and breaking through-the-line passes that can cause severe problems to Sevilla.
With the run of form United's front have been on lately, Banega's problems would mount up as Pogba will be looking to set up goals for them. Things have been only on the rise for United and Pogba since the new manager's arrival and Solskjaer has done a fantastic job managing this young squad.
With Pogba's influence on the pitch United will be hoping to play more offensive football while Sevilla will expect the same from Banega.
Let's see who comes out on top, the World Cup winner or the one with several Europa Leagues under his belt.
Sergio Reguilon vs Mason Greenwood
Mason Greenwood has been United's best player on the right for a while now. The Red Devils always had the right tools to attack from the left but had several problems playing from the right. It was then that Solskjaer put Greenwood on the left which is not his natural position but suddenly things started clicking.
Greenwood is quick, has a good command on the ball and his biggest strengths is that he doesn't have a weak foot. Reguilon will be against him for the game and the Englishman can cause all kinds of problems.
However, Sevilla's defensive record in the past shows that United may have a hard time breaking them down which means Greenwood will have to work hard to break through the Sevilla backline.
Greenwood scored ten goals and an assist in the Premier League and got himself included in United's group of great teenagers who were exceptional.
Reguilon has had a decent goal contribution too. He has scored two and set up four in La Liga and that means both the players will have to work both offensively and defensively to stop each other.
Considering Sevilla style of play, they will keep more possession which means Reguilon will tend to create more chances. However, that also means United will be breaking through the counter, something Greenwood will fancy. Thus the head-to-head will be a very tight one but also an entertaining one.
Sevilla’s current form and their past record in the competition speaks volumes and the Spanish camp would believe that the domination continues. However, United have come out as a totally different side post-lockdown, both mentally and physically. Pointing to their latest triumph, six of the players that featured in the 2017 final against Ajax will be featuring in the upcoming game. Pogba, Marcus Rashford and Martial are few of them.
The tie can go either way but I'll give a slight edge to Manchester United.
Predicted scoreline: Sevilla 1- 2 Manchester United