Manchester United will compete for a place in the Europa League final when they take on Sevilla this evening (8pm BST kick-off).
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side will be determined to make the showpiece event as they look to really re-announce themselves among Europe’s elite.
After securing a third place finish in the Premier League, the Red Devils have already qualified for next season’s Champions League, but that doesn’t mean that they’re satisfied.
United have high hopes of establishing themselves as a major force in the game once again, and a winning the Europa League would go a long way to doing that.
But don’t be tricked into thinking that this will be easy.
Sevilla are guaranteed to provide a stern test for the Manchester side.
The Spanish side are one of the strongest teams on the continent – something that’s been backed up by their performances in both domestic and European competition.
After finishing the season in fourth place in La Liga, Julen Lopetegui side go into the game with a similar sense of freedom to their English counterparts.
Competition so far
Put simply, Sevilla love the Europa League.
The Spanish side have won the competition a staggering five times – more than any other side in the tournament’s history.
Perhaps even more impressively, every time that they have reached the quarter-finals of the competition they have gone on to win it.
Sevilla topped Group A after winning five of their six fixtures – scoring 14 and conceding just three in the process.
After scraping through the round of 32 tie with CFR Cluj on the away goals rule, the Spanish side comprehensively beat AS Roma 2-0 in the round of 16, before facing English side Wolves in the quarter finals.
A late goal from Lucas Ocampas was enough to see off Nuno Espirito Santo’s side in a tight affair on Tuesday evening to set up the clash with Man United.
The Red Devils also topped their group with 13 points – scoring 10 and conceding just two.
A 6-1 aggregate victory over Club Brugge saw them through the round of 32 in emphatic style, before an even more impressive 7-1 aggregate win saw off LASK in the round of 16.
Despite being favourites against FC Copenhagen, United scraped through to the quarter finals with a 1-0 win on Monday evening.
With both sides showcasing a stern defensive line in the competition so far, it could be a clash that’s decided by the smallest of margins.
Last time out
The last meeting between Sevilla and Manchester United in the Europa League was only two years ago, but it won’t be fondly remembered for the English side.
Despite the Spanish side dominating the first leg at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium, United somehow held on to take a 0-0 draw back to Old Trafford for the second leg.
However a second half brace from Wissam Ben Yedder stunned the Manchester crowd, meaning that Romelu Lukaku’s late goal was little consolation as the Red Devils were dumped out with a 2-1 aggregate score.
Players to watch
Sevilla have a number of players that Manchester United must be wary of.
Lucas Ocampos is the club’s biggest goal scoring threat after racking up 14 efforts so far this term.
With 2.5 shots per game, the 26-year-old doesn’t need many chances to make his mark.
In terms of the danger men it’s two familiar faces that United will need to watch out for.
Ever Banega ran riot when the two sides met in 2018 and could threaten to do so again this time out – after creating seven goals for his teammates from the middle of the park.
Also on seven assists is former rival, Jesus Navas, who United will remember from his time at Manchester City.
While he’s featured just 21 times in the first team this term, Munir El Haddadi is also one to watch after scoring five of the club’s 18 goals in the competition this term.
For Manchester United, there are goals everywhere in the team.
Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial have 17 goals each in all competitions, while Mason Greenwood has racked up 10.
Greenwood could be one to watch after scoring five goals so far in the Europa League – an impressive 21% of the club’s overall tally of 24.
Bruno Fernandes also looks likely to have a big say in how the game pans out.
The Portuguese star has eight goals and seven assists since arriving at the club in January, and with an average of 4.5 shots per game in the Europa League, he seems like one to watch for sure.
Juan Mata has also found his form in the competition, with his five assists putting him at the top of the charts for assists in the tournament this term.
Julen Lopetegui has a fully fit Sevilla squad to choose from as they prepare for the penultimate game in the Europa League.
As for Man United, they will be without three players for the semi-final clash.
Axel Tuanzebe (foot), Luke Shaw (ankle), Phil Jones (knee) are all set to miss out, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer likely to rotate his squad further as they continue to adapt to the demands of the extended campaign.