Monday, 12 March 2018

Match preview: United v Sevilla

Hot on the heels of the rousing victory over the Scousers, United return to action 48 hours later in another massive and season defining fixture. The tie is delicately poised on a knife edge after the 0-0 draw in Andalucia three weeks ago, with in-form United bidding for a place in the Champions League quarter finals for the first time in four years.

Juventus, Real Madrid and Premier League duo Liverpool and City are already through, with the draw for the last eight to be made on Friday after the round of 16 is completed. Victory over United would put Sevilla into the last eight for the first time since 1958, that most fateful of years that started with United gunning for glory but ended in tragedy on a slush covered Munich runway.

Jose Mourinho has confirmed that Anthony Martial is fit to face the La Liga side, but it remains to be seen if Paul Pogba will feature. United defenders Phil Jones, Marcos Rojo and Daley Blind are all sidelined, while Ander Herrera will also miss out with a muscle problem. Marouane Fellaini could be pushing for involvement having come on and played a key role in United's 2-1 win over Liverpool. Vincenzo Montella's Sevilla will be without former City man Jesus Navas, who has been struggling with a calf injury. The visitors will be without Sebastien Corchia, while Daniel Carrico is also doubtful.
 Los Rojiblancos - Europa League winners for two of the last seasons - have had an indifferent season, and currently sit in fifth place in the Spanish top flight. Since the first leg, there's been a 5-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid, followed up with back to wins over Malaga and Athletic Club before their 2-0 home loss to place above Valencia last time out. 

Jose said: "Sevilla is more important than Liverpool because Saturday was a match for points but this one and the next one (against Brighton) are the matches where, at the end, you go to the next draw or don't go to the next draw. So of course knockout becomes more important than league matches. I don't think we are one of the best teams in the competition, but when a team arrives in the last eight, anything can happen. You are among the best, but I think this is a very difficult match. Sevilla is a very good team, and the result of the first leg is a result that leaves everything open so the reality is that in this moment we have no advantage at all." 
Sevilla make their first ever visit to Old Trafford to face United in a competitive tie - with the only other meeting between the sides Rio Ferdinand's testimonial in August 2013 (they won 3-1). 
Having negotiated the not insignificant hurdle of Jurgen Klopp's side, this is the second of three home games in a week for Jose's United, with Brighton the next Old Trafford visitors on Saturday with a place in the FA Cup semi finals on the line. 

Form guide: United L W D W W W Sevilla W D L W W L 
Match odds: United 8/13 Draw 11/4 Sevilla 9/2
Referee: Danny Makkelie will take charge of his first United game with an all Dutch team of officials.

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