Preview: Mourinho to set Manchester United up to challenge Sevilla in Spain?

Sevilla -v- Manchester United

Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain

UEFA Champions League 2017/18

Wednesday 21st February 2018; KO 19:45 GMT

Live on BT Sport

Manchester United return to action in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday evening in the round of 16 first leg of the elite European competition. Sevilla are the side United will have to contest to head into the last eight of the competition this season, which is what Jose Mourinho’s side will be tasked to do. United have not reached the round of 16 stage of the competition since the 2013/14 season where the club did so in the beleaguered season under David Moyes, who was sacked as manager of the club before the end of that season. United are currently second in the Premier League but trail leaders Manchester City by 16 points which gives them an impossible task to challenge for the title this season, which is something Mourinho has already conceded.

Last season, United won the EFL Cup, now the Carabao Cup but their participation in that competition ended before the end of 2017 with Bristol City beating them. United have two chances to win some silverware this season; the Emirates FA Cup, of which they are in the last eight and face Brighton and Hove Albion at Old Trafford next month and the UEFA Champions League, which will be the toughest of the two tasks. One thing that goes in United’s favour is that the club will only need to worry about two matches in each round and depending on how much the team wants to win it, will depend on whether they actually get close to that. Realistically, United would be happy with a place in the quarter-final or even a semi-final place.

Form: Manchester United have won more in their last six matches but Sevilla have only been beaten once in their last six matches

Manchester United: WLWLWW – Huddersfield Town 2-0 W, Newcastle United 1-0 L, Huddersfield Town 2-0 W, Tottenham Hotspur 2-0 L, Yeovil Town 4-0 W, Burnley 1-0 W

Sevilla: WWWLDD – Las Palmas 2-1 W, Girona 1-0 W, Leganés 2-0 W, Eibar 5-1 L, Leganés 1-1 D, Getafe 1-1 D

Previous Matches: United do not have the best form in Spain in the past, but more recently they have only lost once in eight visits

Manchester United and Sevilla have not yet faced each other competitively in any competition so therefore Wednesday’s fixture will be the very first competitive match between the two clubs. However, United have met Sevilla in the last five years for Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial which ended with a 3-1 defeat for David Moyes’ United side. United have played 23 matches in Spain but do not have the best form, winning only two of those matches. Recently though, United have played eight matches in Spain – losing only one of those. Last season in the UEFA Europa League, United face Celta Vigo in Spain, winning 1-0. This match will mark United’s 50th in European competition against a Spanish side, United have won 13, drawn 20 and lost 16 times of the 49 played so far.

Team News: Mourinho boosted by the return of Bailly, Valencia, Pogba, Herrera, and Rashford ahead of Sevilla clash

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho has been boosted recently with the return from injury of Eric Bailly, who came off the bench late in the 2-0 victory over Huddersfield Town in the Emirates FA Cup at the weekend. Bailly could make his 50th appearance for the club if he plays against Sevilla. It has been confirmed by the media that Antonio Valencia, Ander Herrera, Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford have all travelled to Seville – all of whom had missed the FA Cup match at the weekend, some have missed much longer periods due to injury. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was pictured in training at the AON Training Complex in Carrington this morning but it does not look like he has travelled to Spain.

Predicted Starting XI: Mourinho to field a 4-3-3 formation with a midfield able to challenge the Spanish side?

Predicted Score: 

Sevilla 1-2 Manchester United

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