After a gap of close to two months 2017/18 UEFA Champions League action will return this month with 8 mouth-watering matches. Manchester United who finished on top of their group with 5 wins has been drawn against 5 time Europa League winners Sevilla, who came in second in their group behind Liverpool. Read preview, news and Predicted 11 of the heated clash.
Manchester United v Sevilla: Preview
Manchester United currently sit comfortably at the second spot in the Premier League table, with over 10 points separate them from the league leaders Manchester City. Sevilla, on the other hand, are struggling to get into the Champions League qualification places as they lie in 6th spot with just 33 points, 7 points behind Valencia who are 3rd on the table.
Sevilla have plenty of bottle. What they lack in top players and big-money signings they tend to make up for in spirit. However, Manchester United will be well aware of the threat that they can pose and will be aware that this will not a breeze past but the Red Devils still look favourites to progress to the quarter-final stage.
Defender Gabriel Mercado returned to the matchday squad in the mid-week Copa del Rey encounter against Leganes and will most likely take the field against Manchester United. Simon Kjaer and Sebastien Corchia are still recovering from injury problems, which could see the manager shifting things around at the back in order to secure the right-back spot.
Former Manchester City mid-fielder Nolito will most probably miss the 1st leg against Manchester United as he continues his recovery of an injury on his right abductor muscle. He will be touch and go for the 1st leg but should be back available for the match at Old Trafford.
Manchester United News
Marouane Fellaini is a long-term absentee for the club after going through a surgery on his troublesome left knee. He joined the likes of Eric Bailey and Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the sidelines, both of whom are expected to be fit by the end of February. Which means they won’t be available for the 1st leg in Spain.
Alexis Sanchez will make his Champions League debut for Man United in the 1st leg, having scored a total of 13 goals in his 48 appearances in the tournament.
Sevilla Predicted 11
Rico; Layun, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; Vasquez, NZonzi, Mesa; Sarabia, Correa and Muriel
Manchester United Predicted 11
De Gea, Smalling, Rojo, Shaw, Valencia; Matic, Pogba; Sanchez, Lingard, Martial and Lukaku
Sevilla have a strong European pedigree, especially with 3 back-to-back Europa League wins in recent seasons. However, there is no doubt that they have struggled hugely this season to string a series of good results and with their focus firmly on securing a Champions League qualification for next year, no one knows what it could mean for their fortunes in the Champions League this season.
Manchester United are firm favourites to qualify for the next round but they won’t find the opposition easying up at any moment. Especially in the 1st leg, Man United first priority should be getting an away goal. Once they have that they can feel confident about the outcome of the 2 legged tie. Sevilla will be looking to shut them off in the 1st leg, with the hopes of sneaking an away goal when they travel to Old Trafford.