Spanish side Sevilla host Premier League giants, Manchester United, this Wednesday, in the first leg of the Round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League 2017/18.
Sevilla have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League for the fourth time in five appearances whereas Manchester United are in the knockout stages of the competition for the first time since 2013/2014. The Round of 16 tie between these two sides pairs the 2016 and 2017 Europa League winners.
Sevilla won 1-2 against Las Palmas, in their last league game. After beating Atletico Madrid over two legs in the semi-finals of the Copa Del Rey, Vincenzo Montella’s side have won three out of their last six games in all competitions, drawing two games and losing the other one. They have managed to keep a clean sheet in each of their previous two home games.
Meanwhile, Jose Mourinho’s side lost 1-0 against Newcastle United, last Sunday, in their previous league game. They have lost two out of last three games in the Premier League.Before that, the Red Devils had won all of their last five matches in all competitions without conceding a single goal.
But, United are back in winning ways as they secure a win against Huddersfield Town in the fifth round of FA cup to progress into the next round. Romeo Lukaku was the star turner of the game who netted two goals in the first half to kill the tie. With his strong agility and recent form, he can be the main threat to Sevilla defense.
Sevilla progressed through to the knockout stages of the Champions League as runners-up of the Group E. Along with Liverpool, FC Spartak Moskva and Maribor, the Spanish side finished in the second position to progress into knockout stage with nine points.
The Andalusian side have won two games, drawn three and lost one game in the group stages. Their tally of two wins in the group stages is the lowest tally among the 16 teams left in the competition. Vincenzo Montella’s side conceded 12 goals in the six group games, which is the highest tally among the clubs left in the contest.
Meanwhile, Manchester United progressed through to the Round of 16 of the competition as the winners of the Group A, which included teams FC Basel, CSKA Moskva, and Benfica.
The red devils managed 15 points in the group stages of the competition. They won five of their six group games this season, their highest tally in the Champions League since 2007/08.
Sevilla have never reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League despite having reached the Round of 16 for the fourth time in five appearances. In the six Champions League knockout games, they have never kept a clean sheet.
Manchester United have not managed to score more than one goal in each of their last 14 Champions League meetings with Spanish opposition, scoring just seven goals in total. The red devils have found victory in only one of their previous six Champions League knockout games; a 3-0 win at Old Trafford against Olympiakos, in March 2014, courtesy of a Robin Van Persie hat-trick.
Jose Mourinho is hoping to become the first manager in history to win the Champions League with three different clubs. The Portuguese manager has previously won the competition with FC Porto in 2004 and Inter Milan in 2010. Mourinho’s record against Sevilla when he was at Real Madrid is very impressive. In eight encounters with the Andalusian side, as a Real Madrid manager, Mourinho emerged victorious on seven occasions, losing the odd game.
This fixture counts for the first competitive meeting between Sevilla and Manchester United. The second leg will take place at Old Trafford on March 13.
Players To Watch
Wissam Ben Yedder
Wissam Ben Yedder has scored 50% of Sevilla’s goals in this season’s Champions League. The Frenchman scored six of Sevilla’s 12 goals in the group stages. Ben Yedder also scored in Sevilla last game in the league, against Las Palmas.
Alexis Sanchez will be playing his first game in Europe for Manchester United. The Chilean forward bring plenty of Champions League experience with him, from his time at Barcelona and Arsenal. Sanchez scored 10 Champions League goals in his 24 appearances for Arsenal.
Ever Banega who is carrying a thigh injury will be a massive miss for Vicenzo Montella if he fails to pass the fitness test. Nolita who was suffering from a groin injury is now back in training.
Defender Simon Kjaer is also back in training after being out for a couple of weeks due to a back injury. Sebastien Corchia is carrying a groin injury. He is a doubt for this game.
Defenders Eric Baily is back in training after being out for a couple of months with an ankle injury. Marouane Fellaini and Ander Herrera are out injured.
Daley Blind is carrying an ankle injury. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is back in training after a month out with a hamstring injury. Marcus Rashford is doubtful to face Sevilla due to his injury concerns.
Sevilla vs Manchester United Predicted Lineup ( Predicted XI)
Sevilla Lineup (4-2-3-1)
Defense: Navas (RB), Mercado (RCB), Lenglet (LCB), Layun (LB)
Midfield: Nzonzi (CDM), Pizarro (CDM), Sarabia (RAM), Vazquez (CAM), Correa (LAM)
Manchester United Lineup (4-2-3-1)
GK: De Gea
Defense: Valencia (RB), Jones (RCB), Smalling (LCB), Young (LB)
Midfield: Matic (CDM), Pogba (CDM), Mata (RAM), Sanchez (CAM), Martial (LAM)
Sevilla vs Manchester United Prediction
Sevilla have won all of their last three games in all competitions while Manchester United have had a slight dip in form. However, United’s quality is expected to get them through this tie. Our prediction for this game is 0-1 Manchester United win.