Europa League preview: Sevilla vs Man United

A spot in the 2020 Europa League final is up for grabs when Sevilla and Manchester United clash in Sunday’s semi-final.

Sevilla overcame Wolverhampton Wanderers 1-0 courtesy a late goal to reach the last four of the competition, while United needed a penalty to beat Copenhagen 1-0 in the quarter-finals.

Head to Head:

Sevilla v Man Utd P2 W1 D1 L0; F1 A2

Recent Form (Recent Game First)

Sevilla : WWWDW

Man Utd : WWWDL

Route to Semi Final

Sevilla: Group A winners, 1-1 CFR Cluj (away goals, R32), 2-0 Roma (R16), 1-0 Wolves (QF)

Man Utd: Group L winners, 6-1 Club Brugge (R32), 7-1 LASK (R16), 1-0 Copenhagen (QF)

UEFA Europa League Semi Final Record

Sevilla: P5 W5 L0 (most recent: 2015/16, W vs Liverpool)

Man Utd: P1 W1 L0 (most recent: 2016/17, W vs Celta Vigo)

Predicted Line Up

Sevilla: Bounou; Navas, Diego Carlos, Koundé, Reguilón; Banega, Fernando, Jordán; Suso, En-Nesyri, Ocampos

Manchester United: Romero; Wan-Bissaka, Bailly, Maguire, Williams; Fred; Greenwood, Bruno Fernandes, Pogba, Rashford; Martial.



Set Up : 4-5-1

As seen, the primary formation of this Sevilla side is a 4-5-1 which metamorphoses into a variation of a 3-4-3 with focus on overlapping by full-backs and crossing from full-backs. The team is focused on high intense pressing. In possession, a central midfielder normally drops into defence to allow the fullbacks to push further up the pitch to create possible 2 v 1 against an opponent full back.

Attacking Phase: 4-3-3 / 3-4-3/ 3-6-1

When the ball moves into the opponent’s final 3rd and Sevilla has more bodies up the field, their wide forwards move into the box to occupy spaces between each center back and the full back. This creates space for their marauding full backs to either drive or cross the ball to the crowded penalty box. There are opportunities to score from these crosses or the second balls from the clearances.

Defensive Phase: 4-5-1

Defending begins at the front, wherever the ball is lost. The hallmark of this Sevilla side is the intense high-press. This will be essential to hurry the Man Utd midfield that does not cope well with a well organized systematic high-press. The likes of Jordan, Ocampos, En-Nesyri and Suso will have their work cut out for them to ensure the Man Utd midfield never gets going. The press will most likely start whenever the ball moves to Matic or Maguire. The 4-5-1 shape will mean the wide forwards would become defensive wide men to prevent the Man Utd fullbacks joining the attack to possibly create 2 v 1s against the Sevilla’s fullbacks. The defensive partnership of Diego Carlos and Kounde is a youthful one with energy and strength to burn.

Trump Card: Attacking Wingbacks (Jesus Navas, Sergio Reguilon)

The energy and legs of the Sevilla fullbacks could be their joker card in this fixture. Should Man Utd play a conservative game and seek to contain then counter, Sevilla would be able to cause major trouble through overloading the box with crosses from their full-backs. The fullbacks pushing up too much could also work against Sevilla so must be done right to maximise the outcome.

Manchester United

Set Up: 4-5-1

As seen, the primary formation of this Man Utd side is a 4-5-1 which metamorphoses into a variation of a 4-3-3 with focus on wing play and counter attack football. The Man Utd team chooses to mostly sit back, cede possession to teams and hit them on the counter attack. The team usually sets up with a two-man pivot in the middle when games start. This gradually becomes a one-man pivot as the game proceeds and then Bruno and Pogba play at two offensive midfielders to occupy the defence and midfield of opponents. The pace of Martial Rashford and Greenwood/James usually unsettles many defences. 

Attacking Phase: 4-3-3

In the opponent’s final 3rd, Man Utd tends to use a pattern of play that creates 1-2s and drags opponents out of position whilst creating space for Strikers or Wide Forwards to shoot. Bruno Fernandes’ ability to arrive late into the box also provides an extra attacking element that teams find it difficult to cope with. The rotation of the forward 3 during games also adds an element of unpredictability for Man Utd. 

Defensive Phase: 4-5-1

Depending on the Man Utd that turns up, we would see either high pressing from the top to force errors from Sevilla defence or midfield or we would see a Man Utd that would cede possession until ball has just crossed the halfway line. This would then give Man Utd the opportunity to open up play and spring into their trademark counter attack. Matic will mostly likely act as a midfield anchor to offer an extra body in defence whenever the ball goes past the first two central midfielders. Should Rashford fail to track back as often as he has been doing in recent times, Sevilla would most likely exploit this and create 2 v 1s against young Brandon Williams. 

Trump Card: Mason Greenwood

Mason Greenwood

It seems the Baby-Faced Assassin has found his own Baby-Faced Assassin. He’s shown why he was promoted to the first team. His ability to score with either foot allows gives him an advantage when attacking. He would be looking to get another Europa League goal should the opportunity present itself. His pace, dribbling ability and sheer determination to make a mark should spur him to make a statement on Sunday.

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