Champions League Prediction: Manchester United vs Sevilla

Manchester United welcome Sevilla to Old Trafford for the second leg round of 16 Champions League tie between the two sides. The first leg in Spain ended in a 0-0 stalemate, meaning that either side could easily progress with a positive result in this fixture. The Red Devils know that they need at least one goal to guarantee progression, while the visitors have a slight advantage thanks to the prospect of an away goal victory.
 
Manchester United:
 
Jose Mourinho has won two Champions League titles, one with Porto and the other with Inter, and both of those came at clubs that were largely considered underdogs in the competition. While Manchester United are certainly not usually considered to be underdogs, even in the upper echelons of Europe, the veteran coach is very good at turning narratives in his favour, allowing United to play the style he wants.
 
The fact that United have conceded just three goals in the Champions League this season is proof enough that Mourinho’s style is working, and leaning on his stoic defence has often been enough to close out the difficult games. In the last game against Sevilla however the tactic didn’t quite pay off as a 0-0 draw will put a lot of pressure on the attackers to get the job done at Old Trafford.
 
Romelu Lukaku, the big money summer signing, has been decent, but certainly not excellent this season. Four goals in the Champions League and 14 in the Premier League has been enough to get the Red Devils this far, but he may need to step it up should his side progress further into the competition. The Belgian’s fellow attacker Alexis Sanchez, signing in January, doesn’t seem to have settled in yet, which means that players such as Marcus Rashford, who scored twice against Liverpool, will need to turn up in this game.
 
Team News:
 
In defence Phil Jones, Daley Blind and Marcos Rojo are all doubts for this game, while Paul Pogba could also face a late fitness test after picking up a knock.
 
Elsewhere Ander Herrera will likely miss out due to a muscle injury, while Zlatan Ibrahimovic is still out for the long-term with a knee injury.
 
Sevilla :
 
Vincenzo Montella’s side aren’t having a bad season but they aren’t having a particularly good one either. They currently sit fifth in the table, 11 points behind fourth place Valencia. At this stage of the season it will be quite a feat if Los Nervionenses do manage to grab a Champions League spot, so they may have to be content with a Europa League spot. With that in mind, a good run in this season’s competition is what the Spanish side will be looking for.
 
Sevilla made it out of Group E in second place, finishing behind a Liverpool side that went unbeaten. Montella’s men lost just once but drew three games, scoring 12 and conceding the same number. A second place finish all but ensured a tough draw, and sure enough they ended up with Manchester United, perhaps one of the best sides in knockout football.
 
A 0-0 draw at home would have been a decent result but Sevilla have historically been vastly superior at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in recent seasons. Add to that the fact that Manchester United are also very impressive at home and this could be a tough game for the visitors. They do have a slight advantage however as they know that away goals could see them through, but two defeats in their last four games suggest that Sevilla aren’t in the best form heading into this clash.
 
Team News:
 
Sebastien Corchia’s groin issue will keep him out of this game, while Jesus Navas has also been ruled out with a calf problem.
 
Lionel Carole likewise has a calf injury, but Juan Soriano could feature after overcoming a shoulder problem.
 
Key Factors to Consider:
-Manchester United are unbeaten in their last five games across all competitions.
-The Red Devils have conceded just three goals in their seven Champions League games this season.
-Sevilla have lost two of their last four games, conceding seven goals.
-Los Nervionenses have conceded 12 goals in their seven Champions League games this season.
-The last game between these two sides ended in a 0-0 draw.
 
Conclusion:
 
Jose Mourinho has made Old Trafford into a fortress and is the master of grinding out results when he really needs to. A 0-0 draw in the first tie puts the Red Devils in a slightly disadvantaged position heading into this match, but I trust their superior quality to allow them to ease past Sevilla.
 
Verdict: Manchester United to Win and Under 2.5 Goals

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