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Preview: Sevilla vs Manchester United – prediction, team news, line-ups

A place in the Europa League semi-finals is up for grabs as Sevilla and Manchester United go head-to-head in the return leg of their evenly-poised quarter-final tie on Thursday.

Despite going 2-0 up at half-time at Old Trafford last weekend, United shot themselves in the foot with a pair of late own-goals from Tyrell Malacia and Harry Maguire.

Second-half substitutes undid Marcel Sabitzer’s first-half heroics, putting the Red Devils in an awkward situation going into the return leg, as a 2-2 aggregate score leaves this tie open for the taking. 

Not only have Erik ten Hag’s men failed to post their first-ever European win over Sevilla (D2, L2), but they also lost two first-choice defenders, Raphael Varane and Lisandro Martinez, last time out. 

With several first-team stars unavailable for this fixture, Man United will face the uphill task of defeating the Andalusian powerhouse for the first time, especially considering the hosts’ mini-revival under new manager Jose Luis Mendilibar.

Since replacing Jorge Sampaoli in the hot seat earlier in April, Mendilibar has gone unbeaten in all four competitive matches in charge (W2, D2), including a 2-0 La Liga win at Valencia last weekend. 

Sevilla’s resurgence bolstered the club’s belief in reaching the first Europa League semi-finals since 2019/20 when they ominously overpowered United in a one-off last-four tie.

Match Preview

Mendilibar fielded an understrength line-up at the Estadio de Mestalla last Sunday, so the Spaniards can call upon fresh legs as they bid to upset the odds in this quarter-final. 

Despite playing Valencia with a much-changed squad, second-half goals from Loic Bade and Suso helped Sevilla grab a crucial league victory, moving eight points above the relegation zone.  

Seeking a record-extending seventh Europa League title, Los Rojiblancos can draw confidence from their intimidating home record in continental action to help them overcome a gulf in quality.

Dubbed the ‘Europa League specialists,’ they have clocked an eye-catching 23 wins in their last 26 home outings in Europe’s second-tier competition (D2, L1). 

Given the only way for Sevilla to secure European football for next season is via their Europa League campaign, the hosts will be out to deliver another memorable night at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Mendilibar’s men have been flawless in springtime European fixtures, thumping PSV Eindhoven and Fenerbahce 3-0 and 2-0, respectively, in the two previous knockout legs on home turf. 

Like Sevilla, Man United enjoyed a successful weekend in their domestic championship, easing past Premier League newcomers Nottingham Forest 2-0 at the City Ground on Sunday.  

Antony and Diogo Dalot were on the scoresheet as United took advantage of Newcastle United’s misfortunes to seize control of a coveted third place and consolidate their top-four pursuit.

However, faced with growing fatigue issues amid a hectic fixture schedule, Ten Hag’s injury-hit team will have to defy a topsy-turvy form on the road to redeem for the first-leg disappointment.

The Red Devils’ last four competitive away matches have fluctuated between wins and losses (W2, L2), with each result seeing the winner on the day keep a clean sheet. 

Despite United’s see-saw form, the visitors can take some courage from the fact they have only suffered one defeat across their last 12 away games in the Europa League knockout stage (W7, D4).

Additionally, since losing to Real Sociedad on the opening matchday of the 2022/23 Europa League season, Man United have gone unbeaten in their last ten European contests (W8, D2). 

Player to Watch: Youssef En-Nesyri 

Youssef En-Nesyri was a game-changer at Old Trafford, forcing Maguire’s own goal and creating all sorts of problems for the Man United defence since coming on a second-half substitute. 

The Moroccan forward, who has opened the scoring in Sevilla’s three different Europa League home fixtures this season, should start on Thursday. 

Player to Watch: Anthony Martial

After an ill-fated loan at Sevilla last season, Anthony Martial will return to the Pizjuan as a foe, looking to score only his second Europa League goal this season after netting in a 3-2 group-stage win at Omonia Nicosia.

In the absence of standout striker Marcus Rashford, the Frenchman will likely have to shoulder the scoring burden after providing an assist to Sabitzer in the first leg. 

Team News

Besides Marseille loanee Pape Gueye, who’s ineligible to play, Sevilla will have to replace first-choice right-back Gonzalo Montiel after the Argentine picked up a booking at Old Trafford. 

Mendilibar is still sweating over Dutch defender Karim Rekik, who’s facing a race against time to recover from a minor injury and replace underperforming Tanguy Nianzou at the heart of the hosts’ backline. 

Man United will take this trip severely crippled by injuries and suspensions.

In addition to Martinez, Varane, Rashford and Sabitzer, Ten Hag cannot count on Luke Shaw, Alejandro Garnacho and Donny van de Beek, as all are still in the medical room with various fitness problems. 

There’s still hope for Malacia to recover in time, but it’s more likely that Dalot will occupy the left-back spot as he did at Forest on Sunday. 

But the biggest issue is the absence of midfield dynamo Bruno Fernandes due to accumulated yellow cards. 

Sevilla potential starting line-up:

(4-3-3): Bono; Jesus Navas, Loic Bade, Marcao, Marcos Acuna; Fernando, Ivan Rakitic, Nemanja Gudelj; Lucas Ocampos, Youssef En-Nesyri, Suso. 

Manchester United potential starting line-up:

(4-2-3-1): David de Gea; Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Harry Maguire, Victor Lindelof, Diogo Dalot; Casemiro, Fred; Antony, Christian Eriksen, Jadon Sancho; Anthony Martial.

We Say: Sevilla 1-2 Manchester United

While there’s still fear that Man United’s late blunders in the first leg could come back to bite them, particularly in light of the ever-growing injury crisis, we still believe the Red Devils have the upper hand in this tie.

But Ten Hag’s men must avoid any more concentration slip-ups if they’re to prevail at the Pizjuan, something they effortlessly achieved at the City Ground last weekend. 

Even without several first-team stalwarts, the Red Devils still have plenty of ammunition to break down Sevilla’s porous backline.

Hopefully, Victor Lindelof and Maguire won’t undo United’s attacking effort as was the case at Old Trafford last time out. 

How To Watch:

If you are in the UK, all Europa League games (as well as Champions League games – next season!) are on BT Sport. For more information on how to watch United games, see this Man Utd live streaming page.

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