Manchester United return to the European stage in a knockout round of 16 fixture against Sevilla Wednesday after an important 2-0 win midweek over Huddersfield Town in the FA Cup.
The Reds are determined to continue their impressive Champions League form after registering 15 points and finishing top of their group with the group stage’s second best defensive record with only 3 goals conceded.
Sevilla will be no easy task as they face a tough away game at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium. Sevilla are currently fifth in the La Liga standings and are coming off a 3 game domestic game win streak.
United’s keys to victory lie in their defensive stability and their attacking threat. Going forward, United boast a wealth of attacking talent in Romelu Lukaku, Anthony Martial, and the ever deadly, Alexis Sanchez.
The latter of which making his Champions League debut with the Red Devils, Sanchez will be keen to get off to a flying start as he looks to increase his European goal tally as he currently sits on 13 overall Champions League goals.
Sanchez offers United the versatility and vision to break down opponents across the pitch and allows the other forwards to get into attacking spaces to finish chances.
The importance of United’s attack flows through Sanchez and Lukaku who scored a brace in his last game against Huddersfield Town midweek in the FA Cup.
Lukaku is a powerful number nine and craves the high quality service that Sanchez can provide. With the likes of Sanchez, Martial, Mata and Lingard, chances should come in Seville on Wednesday night.
Sevilla have a chance to beat United if they can control the pace of play. United have struggled when conceding first this year and if Sevilla can scrape a goal together early, it might prove troublesome for the Red Devils.
Overall, United look the better side with a stronger attack and midfield with Paul Pogba looking to bounce back to form after some disappointing showings in the last few games. Defensive stability is always key for United as they have 4 clean sheets out of 6 for the group stages.
The return of Eric Bailly will be a major boost to the backline for United as well as the Ivorian has had a stellar season so far.
The 23-year-old has not got the best record against Sevilla, however, having lost four games against Los Rojiblancos while playing for Villarreal – even getting sent off when the sides met in the Europa League in 2015. Bailly will be eager to put that right.
Wednesday nights battle is sure to be an exciting one as Jose Mourinho’s side looks to get off to a strong start as they push towards European glory. It’s the first step in a long and crucial second half of the season.
Manchester United Win 3-1