Showing posts with label Marcel Sabitzer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Marcel Sabitzer. Show all posts

United can win their first match against Sevilla

In order to reach the semi-finals of Europa League, Manchester United need to make history by recording their first ever victory against Sevilla and in their stadium 43,883 seater Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan. United have drawn and lost two games each against them thus far which is also the record of Sevilla under their latest manager Jose Luis Mendilibar with four games in charge. And one of those duels between the two clubs was in 2020 Europa League semi-final when Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was the manager at a neutral venue. This is easily a more daunting prospect for Erik ten Hag.

Manchester United are having a poor away record in English Premier League losing three of last five games. While in Europe this season United have faced three Spanish opponents already in Sociedad winning 1-0 away, losing 0-1 at Betis and drawing 2-2 in Nou Camp against Barcelona. This has made fans to mock the draws against four Spanish teams as if United were playing in Copa del Rey!

First leg of the match which ended 2-2 at Old Trafford had United cruising 2-0 till the 62nd minute and Erik ten Hag made three substitutions removing Fernandes, Sancho, Martial that turned the match around. Later Anthony was taken-off at 81st minute to protect him from getting a second yellow. United lost their best defender in Lisandro Martinez for rest of the season through broken metatarsal. At half-time Raphael Varane had to come off. Varane-Martinez have been United's best centre back pairing this season. Both are out of the squad for this game along with suspended Bruno Fernandes and another injured duo Garnacho and McTominay.

Harry Maguire will most likely be paired with Luke Shaw replacing the injured Varane-Martinez. Maguire though getting limited playing time under the Dutchman would have rued the fact as to why he wasn't paired with Shaw earlier, the duo enjoy a good rapport with England national team also. Maguire-Shaw braved a 2-0 away win at hostile Elland Road in February and today's atmosphere would be no different. Diogo Dalot and Aaron wan-Bissaka would be two full-backs taking the heat off young Tyrell Malacia. Similarly Marcel Sabitzer who had a slow start to life at United with respect to number of games played has started to prove himself by scoring those two goals in the first leg. He would be replacing the big void of Bruno Fernandes in midfield and play alongside Casemiro and Eriksen.

For such a crucial match Marcus Rashford will want to play some role and contribute to injury ravaged team's cause. He might even start with United clearly needing to win this match. Rashford alone has scored 1/3rd of United's goals this season and without him United were cruising till 62nd minute at Old Trafford last week is a testament to Erik ten Hag's work. Sevilla will be tipped to target Anthony dos Santos and will the Brazilian who got a goal and an assist for the first time in the same match for United in Sunday's win over Nottingham Forest rise to avoid confrontation and enable another victory? Can Martial score in a crucial match under pressure? Fred's best scoring season at United will be a factor to have him involved at some stage.

To fathom the scale of task facing United, last time Sevilla lost at home in Europa League was in 2016 quarter finals against Athletic Bilbao in extra time and the Spanish national team are unbeaten in 26 matches there! At the same time this season the club are struggling in 13th position in the league table having lost 0-3 to Barcelona and 1-6 to Athletico Madrid recently while they let in unusual 4 goals in two of their group games in Champions' League against Man City and Dortmund. Their current coach Mendilibar, aged 62 isn't as storied in stature as Julen Lopetegui nor Unai Emery.

Starting XI: de Gea, Dalot, Shaw, Maguire, wan Bissaka, Casemiro, Eriksen, Sabitzer, Rashford, Martial, Anthony
Bench: Butland, Vitek, Lindelof, Malacia, Fred, Zidane, Elanga, Pellistri, Sancho, Weghorst

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