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Preview: Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s Manchester United need to squash Sevilla for Europa League final place

Sevilla -v- Manchester United

UEFA Europa League

RheinEnergieSTADION, Cologne, Germany

Sunday 16 August 2020, KO 20:00 BST

Referee: Felix Brych Assistants: Mark Borsch, Stefan Lupp 

Fourth Official: Daniel Siebert

VAR: Bastian Dankert Assistant VAR: Marco Fritz

Manchester United have reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Europa League this season and will face Spanish side Sevilla at the RheinEnergieSTADION in Cologne on Sunday evening. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be seeking to get the better of Julen Lopetegui’s side, who have done well this season and have beaten both AS Roma and Wolverhampton Wanderers in their last matches in the competition. United will have a tough match on their hands.

United and Sevilla have met twice in European competition, playing in the round of 16 stage of the UEFA Champions League during the 2017/18 season, in which they qualified for the completion by lifting the Europa League at the end of the 2016/17 season, beating Ajax 2-0 in the final. It was a 0-0 draw at the Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in Sevilla followed by a 2-1 defeat at Old Trafford, Manchester, which resulted in United exiting from the competition. United will need to do much better.

Both United and Sevilla have good records in the UEFA Europa League with the Spanish club winning the competition five times in the past 15 years, winning back to back titles on the 2005/06 and 2006/07 seasons then winning three in a row in the 2013/14, 2014/15, and 2015/16 seasons. Sevilla have made the semi-final stage five times, winning all of them and all five finals. United have reached one semi-final and final, winning both in the 2016/17 season. One of the club will lose their 100% record on Sunday evening in Cologne.

Form: United and Sevilla are both in good form; Sevilla are on a 19-match unbeaten run with United defeated just once in 24 matches.

Manchester United: WWDLWD

FC Copenhagen 1-0 W, Linzer ASK 2-1 W, Leicester City 2-0 W, West Ham United 1-1 D, Chelsea 3-1 L, Crystal Palace 2-0 W

Sevilla: WWWDWW

Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 W, AS Roma 2-0 W, Valencia 1-0 W, Real Sociedad 0-0 D, Mallorca 2-0 W, Athletic Club 2-1 W

Top Scorers: Sevilla have scored 71 goals this season with Anthony Martial (23), Marcus Rashford (22) and Mason Greenwood (17) scoring 62 goals between them. United to outscore their opposition?

Manchester United Goals: 23 – Anthony Martial, 22 – Marcus Rashford, 17 – Mason Greenwood, 11 – Bruno Fernandes, 5 – Odion Ighalo, Scott McTominay, 4 – Daniel James, Jesse Lingard, 3 – Harry Maguire, Juan Mata, 2 – Fred, Own Goal, Andreas Pereira, 1 – Diogo Dalot, Phil Jones, Victor Lindelof, Nemanja Matic, Paul Pogba, Luke Shaw, Brandon Williams, Ashley Young

United have 90 minutes of football standing between them and a second UEFA Europa League final in three years. The club has one defeat in their last 24 matches, which is a great record for Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and United and they will be seeking to extend that to one defeat in 25 matches. Normally playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, United will need to get the better of this Sevilla side from the start of the match to get revenge for that last match, which was a completely different United team, but revenge will still be needed. United should go all out to win.

Sevilla Goals: 15 – Lucas Ocampos, 10 – Munir El Haddadi, 6 – Luuk de Jong, Youssef En-Nesyri, 5 – Franco Vázquez, 4 – Óliver Torres, 3 – Éver Banega, Sergio Reguilón, Munas Dabbur, Nolito, Javier Hernández, 2 – Fernando, Joan Jordán, Diego Carlos, 1 – Bryan Gil, Suso, Sergio Escudero, Jules Koundé

Sevilla are unbeaten in their last 19 matches and seem to be hitting form at the right time, which could see them reach the final of the UEFA Europa League this season, should they beat United. Sevilla showed patience in breaking down Wolves earlier this week, scoring very late in the game and taking the spoils. United waited late against Copenhagen too. Sevilla play in a 4-3-3 formation, which United will have to break with Éver Banega one of the players that they need to shut down.

Team News: United and Sevilla ready for battle on Sunday evening? Three injuries for United, none for Sevilla. Solskjaer to reign supreme in Cologne?

United look set to continue without Phil Jones, Luke Shaw and Axel Tuanzebe for the match against Sevilla and do not seem to have suffered any more injuries from the 1-0 victory over FC Copenhagen on Monday, which is good news. Assistant manager Mike Phelan speaking to the official Manchester United website about this match against Seville being like a proper European fixture, said:

“Yes, it sounds European! [Smiles] We know how Sevilla operate, they’re a very good outfit with very good technical players and great possession of the ball which they showed against Wolves in the last game. They’re a team to be reckoned with, both in their own domestic league and in Europe but particularly in this cup, they have some history in it. I think it’s two football teams going head-to-head in what could be a really good semi-final.”

Sevilla do not seem to have any injury or suspension concerns ahead of the semi-final of the UEFA Europa League when they take on United on Sunday evening. They will be looking forward to the match and a possible sixth final in the competition, which would be a great achievement for them. Speaking about United and how well they have done domestically this season to the official UEFA Europa League website, Sevilla manager Julen Lopetegui said:

“[United haven’t] lost a Premier League game since January, so they’re obviously a top team with great strength, but these are the semi-finals of the Europa League, and the only thing that will help us through any difficulty or situation that we come across at this high level is ambition, excitement and the desire to compete, with the aim of overcoming a great opponent. We’re all delighted with the team’s work, discipline, responsibility and ambition throughout the year. That’s how we want to be.”

Predicted Starting XI: Solskjaer to hit Sevilla with his strongest team, hoping to play to their advantages and knock the Spanish side from the competition ensuring no European trophies head to Spain this year.

Against FC Copenhagen, Solskjaer did not put out his strongest outfield team, opting for Fred instead of Nemanja Matic, presumably keeping the Serbian as fresh as he could for the semi-final and beyond. The Norwegian got the better of his compatriot Ståle Solbakken on Monday evening, needing extra time to get the better of the Danish opposition. United will need to be firing on all cylinders to beat this Spanish side who seem to be full of confidence.

Match Prediction: United did not do too well against Sevilla the last time they met enduring a lacklustre 0-0 draw followed by a 2-1 defeat. United will be seeking revenge and a place in the Europa League final.

United and Sevilla have met twice before, playing in the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League in the 2017/18 season. On the 21 February 2018, it was a 0-0 draw in Seville with United failing to score an away goal, which was bad news for Jose Mourinho’s side. Three weeks later at Old Trafford, the Spanish side won 2-1 with Wassim Ben Yedder scoring a brace in the 74th and 78th minute with Romelu Lukaku scoring a consolation goal in the 84th minute of the match, exiting the competition.

Sevilla have played many times against English opposition; beating Wolverhampton Wanderers earlier this week. They have faced Liverpool, Manchester City, and Leicester City in the past five years and further back have faced Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Middlesbrough and Bolton Wanderers. United have played many teams from Spain including Barcelona, Real Madrid, Valencia, Celta Vigo, Real Sociedad, and Athletic Club in the past decade with a few more clubs from Spain going back further in time.

Sevilla 1-2 Manchester United

Written by John Walker

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