It is the eve of our Champions League, second leg game against Sevilla. On paper, we should win this game. But Football doesn’t always work that way.
We may have the better players but we know how Sevilla have been in recent years, regarding European Football. They tend to go far. I have to admit, when we got Sevilla in the draw, i was very optimistic. But after not getting an away goal in the first leg, it might leave us needing two goals to go through, should Sevilla score. Our first leg game against them showed how stubborn they can be defensively. So it might turn out to be a tough ask to get two goals against them.
Their home game against Liverpool in the group stages showed their fighting spirit. Most teams that go 3-0 down tend to play like they’ve had the stuffing knocked out of them. That would be the natural response. But Sevilla showed that night, that they can be productive at the other end. Losing 3-0, and then drawing the game 3-3, shows that their attacking players can turn it on when needed.
I am sure most Manchester United fans, and Football fans in general, will think we should win this game easily. But that would be arrogance. Sevilla should not be overlooked. They are a dangerous side defensively and attacking wise, as they showed against us in the first leg, and against Liverpool. Not only should we as fans not underestimate Sevilla, but our players shouldn’t either. That would be a huge mistake.
Our form heading into our second leg game against Sevilla, is very good. We have won our last three games since the first leg encounter. We’ve beaten Chelsea, Crystal Palace, and Liverpool. Scoring seven goals, and conceding four in the process. Sevilla’s form since the first leg, is won two, lost two. Scoring five goals. Conceding seven.
Sevilla’s form is patchy, but they always seem to bring their A game on European nights. Whereas most teams would find it daunting facing Manchester United at Old Trafford, i don’t think Sevilla will. They are an experienced side in Europe, with five Uefa Cup/Europa League wins to their name. That is no easy feat. That is why i think Sevilla will relish playing us.
Possible Starting Lineups:
Valencia, Bailly, Smalling, Young
Mata, Sanchez, Rashford
Escudero, Lenglet, Kjaer, Mercado
Correa, Vazquez, Sarabia
The good news regarding Paul Pogba going into the game, is that he took part in today’s training session. So there’s a possibility he could feature in tomorrow’s game.
After a two game absence, Anthony Martial is available for selection. Zlatan Ibrahimovic is fit again, after taking part in the training session today. They are reasons to be even more optimistic going into our game tomorrow night.
Marouane Fellaini is another possibility for our midfield options. But Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Marcos Rojo, and Ander Herrera are sidelined. Jesse Lingard might not be risked, considering he is one booking away from serving a one match European ban.
Jesus Navas will miss the game. Same goes for Sebastien Corchia, and Miguel Layun. As of writing, no other changes are expected. Just like Jesse Lingard, Sergio Escudero, Ever Banega, and Gabriel Mercado, are all one booking away from a one match European ban.
· Manchester United face a task against a very seasoned European side. If Sevilla score once, that would make it very nervy for us. If they do that, they could park the bus, and frustrate us. Mourinho, and the team, will be very aware of this.
· Sevilla have only lost once in their last six matches away from home. And the most telling statistic, is that they have scored in every European game this season. Which does make you nervous, if you’re a Manchester United fan. Because, if that happens, we will need at least two goals to make it through.
· Taking into account our home form, and the confidence gained by beating rivals Liverpool on Saturday, i think we will progress to the Quarter Finals.
My score prediction: Manchester United to win 2-1