Manchester United meet Sevilla in the semi-finals of the Europa League this weekend in a hugely anticipated last four meeting, a clash which pits arguably the tournament favourites against the record five-time winners in Cologne.
The reformatting of Europe’s leading competitions this season means that each side are now just one win away from a final appearance and opportunity to lift the trophy, and we’ve decided to preview Sunday’s crunch clash.
Here is all you need to know about Sevilla v Man United in the Europa League’s last four:
Julen Lopetegui’s debut season at Sevilla has been a promising one with the club securing a top four finish and Champions League qualification in La Liga, whilst the Europa League specialists have once again made little work of advancing to the competition’s latter stages.
The club’s expensive summer outlay has once again delivered some astute signings with Lucas Ocampos having impressed since arriving from Marseille, the winger having scored 18 goals in all competitions including the late winner against Wolves in Tuesday’s quarter-final clash.
Defensive duo Diego Carlos and Sergio Reguilon – who has been linked with the Premier League after starring during a loan spell from Real Madrid – have also bolstered Lopetegui’s ranks, Sevilla finishing the season with an 18-game unbeaten run in Spain’s top tier.
Their European campaign has also seen just one defeat suffered – in a dead-rubber group stage fixture against Apoel Nicosia – whilst the club impressively dispatched of Roma in the last-16. Sevilla are currently on a run of five consecutive clean sheets in all competitions, and have won the Europa League on each of the previous five occasions they have reached this stage.
Manchester United: WWWDL
Manchester United’s strong second half of the campaign has led to increased optimism ahead of the next season, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be hoping to build on his side’s recent run by ending this term with major silverware.
United finished their Premier League campaign with a 14-game unbeaten run to secure a third-placed finish and entry into next season’s Champions League, a new-look forward line of Marcus Rashford, Anthony Martial and teenager Mason Greenwood having scored prolifically to fire their charge.
Solskjaer has, however, shown a reluctance to rotate his options amid a lack of depth and the increased work-load on his first-choice XI has led to some tired performances of late. The Red Devils laboured to a 1-0 quarter-final victory over FC Copenhagen, needing a Bruno Fernandes penalty to dispatch of their Danish opposition who forced the contest into extra-time.
Fernandes – excellent since his mid-season arrival from Sporting Lisbon – has shown signs of fatigue in recent fixtures and United will need the Portugal international to rediscover his finest form as they’re favored to get past Sevilla in their bid to win the Europa League for the second time in four seasons.
Manchester United 1-2 Sevilla, UCL last-16 second leg, 13th March 2018
The two sides met for the very first time in a competitive fixture after being drawn together in the Champions League last-16 two years ago, Sevilla progressing to the quarter-finals following a second leg victory at Old Trafford.
United had posed little threat during a goalless draw in Spain in their first encounter and were again largely second best in the return fixture, substitute Wissam Ben Yedder the match-winner after scoring twice in the space of four minutes.
Romelu Lukaku scored with six minutes remaining for the hosts but it proved little consolation following an abject performance, the Red Devils crashing out of the Champions League on a disappointing evening in Manchester.
Predicted Line ups
Sevilla: Bono; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Reguilon; Banega, Fernando, Jordan, Suso, En-Nesyri; Ocampos
Man United: De Gea; Wan-Bissaka, Lindelof, Maguire, Williams; Matic, Pogba, Fernandes; Greenwood, Rashford, Martial
How can I watch?
UK and Irish readers can watch the game on BT Sport 1, whilst US supporters can view the fixture on fuboTV.
What time is kick off?
Sevilla – 15/8
Draw – 9/4
Man United – 29/20