We look ahead to the first leg of this UEFA Europa League quarter-final at Old Trafford with our Manchester United vs Sevilla prediction and preview.
Manchester United vs Sevilla: Quick Hits
- Manchester United the strong favourites to beat Sevilla with the Opta supercomputer, with a 68.7% chance of victory.
- Man Utd have already defeated three La Liga sides in the Europa League this season: Real Sociedad, Real Betis and Barcelona.
- Sevilla have never lost to Man Utd in a competitive game (two wins, one draw).
Manchester United have already made light work of two La Liga sides in the UEFA Europa League this season, knocking out Real Betis in the last 16 having already sent Spanish giants Barcelona packing in the round prior. They will look to do the same against a Sevilla side in relegation bother domestically, but who have dominated this competition for the last 20 years – they have won it six times since 2005-06.
It will be the fourth time that Man United and Sevilla have faced one another, and the Spanish side have never previously lost to the Premier League club, picking up two wins and a draw.
Sevilla currently sit 13th in the La Liga standings, five points clear of the relegation zone and Valencia in 18th and mired in a relegation battle that renders the Europa League somewhat of a distraction for them. They are focused on top flight survival and while winning the Europa League would be an incredible achievement, the effort to achieve that might be a bridge too far for this group of players. It might not help that between the two legs, Sevilla welcome relegation-threatened Valencia to the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday in the league.
Under Erik ten Hag, Man Utd have a treble on their minds. They have already won the League Cup, beating Newcastle United in the final back in February, while they are in the final four of the FA Cup, with a semi-final against Brighton and Hove Albion on the horizon. The UEFA Europa League title is certainly within their sights, too.
With the Premier League title certainly out of reach now, as they site fourth in the table behind Newcastle, winning the Europa League might be their route to UEFA Champions League football next season, should Tottenham and a resurgent Aston Villa overtake them in the final stages of the campaign.
Having already played Real Sociedad, Barcelona and Real Betis ahead of this tie with Sevilla, United will become only the second side to ever face four different clubs from the same country in a single season of a major European competition after Leeds United in the 2000-01 UCL (also vs. four Spanish clubs). The Marcus Rashford injury has been confirmed and he will not feature meaning Ten Hag will have to make adjustments without their top goalscorer.
Sevilla will be buoyed by their previous form against English clubs in Europe. They’ve progressed from six of their previous eight knockout ties (including finals) versus teams from England, failing only against Leicester City in the 2016-17 Champions League and West Ham United in last season’s Europa League.
Sevilla 2-1 Manchester United: 16 August 2020 (UEFA Europa League)
Manchester United are the team on the rise, but Sevilla have the upper hand in terms of recent meetings.
Sevilla won the last time these two teams met, coming out on top 2-1 in a Europa League semi-final at RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne in August 2020. Suso opened the scoring for Julen Lopetegui’s side in the 26th minute after Bruno Fernandes had scored from a penalty. Luuk de Jong scored Sevilla’s second goal and was the match-winner for the Spanish side.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was in charge of United in that game, but neither of the managers on the bench that night are still in charge of their respective teams.
United had more shots and more shots on target with a higher expected goals but Sevilla had more of the ball. Sevilla would go on to win the UEFA Europa League that season, beating Inter Milan 3-2 in the final.
Manchester United are formidable at home, which bodes well for them as the first leg is at Old Trafford. They decimated Betis 4-1 there in the first leg of their Europa League last 16 tie and will be hoping to do the same on Thursday night.
The Red Devils are currently on a 24-match home unbeaten streak (W21 D3) in all competitions, keeping a clean sheet in 14 of these matches. They’ve won their last three games at Old Trafford, beating Fulham 3-1 in the FA Cup, followed by back-to-back Premier League wins versus Brentford and Everton.
Away from home is a different story but they will worry about that ahead of booking their flights to Seville for the second leg.
Sevilla have been poor all season and are on their third manager. Julen Lopetegui was sacked after a horrendous start to the season. Jorge Sampaoli took over and didn’t do any better. Jose Luis Mendilibar, who rose to fame managing minnows Eibar from 2015 to 2021, has taken over. Under Mendilibar, Sevilla beat Cadíz and drew with Celta Vigo.
Sevilla are currently winless in 11 away games in Europe (D5 L6), losing each of their last three in a row – they haven’t lost four consecutive away games in European competition since February 2016.
Manchester United: Bruno Fernandes
Bruno Fernandes has been directly involved in 27 goals across 37 appearances for Manchester United in Europe (13 goals, 14 assists), at least 11 more goal involvements than any other player for the club since he joined from Sporting CP. Sevilla play a style of football that Manchester United won’t have come across this season. They don’t want possession; they just want to move the ball forward as quickly as possible.
This will be as combative a game as you are likely to see. The Portuguese is known for his fiery style in midfield and the way Sevilla play under Mendilibar means there are lots of long balls, duels and chances to pick up second balls. Sevilla press high and chaotically meaning Fernandes will find spaces to pick the ball up and try to make things happen around the middle of the field.
Across all competitions this season, the Portuguese has been Man Utd’s leading creator both overall (136) and from open play (109), while he’s both scored and assisted 10 goals. Only Marcus Rashford (28) has more goals for United this season in competitive action.
Sevilla: Bryan Gil
Jose Luis Mendilibar plays a very idiosyncratic style of football. They launch the ball forward and do battle in the final thirds. They like to get the ball to the wings on the rare occasions when they do think about their build-up and Bryan Gil have been protagonists in their first two games under Mendilibar.
Gil played for the manager at Eibar and he is the kind of high-energy player that suits Mendilibar’s style. Whoever United play at right-back will have their hands full with Gil given the freedom to take chances on Sevilla’s left.
Since Gil’s debut on 5 February, only Suso (13) and Jesús Navas (14) have created more chances from open play across all competitions for Sevilla than he has (10).
Manchester United vs Sevilla Prediction
Sevilla are relegation contenders in LaLiga. Manchester United are not quite pushing Manchester City and Arsenal at the top of the Premier League but they’re not far off. It makes sense then that the supercomputer gives Sevilla slim chances of a victory at Old Trafford.
The Opta prediction for the game gives United a 68.7% chance of victory on Thursday night ahead of kick-off, while Sevilla’s chances are at just 12% of taking a lead back to Spain for the second leg.
The winners of this tie will face either Juventus of Sporting CP in the Europa League semi-finals.
Manchester United vs Sevilla UEL Squads
Manchester United: David de Gea, Tom Heaton, Jack Butland, Radek Vitek*, Victor Lindelöf, Harry Maguire, Lisandro Martínez, Tyrell Malacia, Raphaël Varane, Diogo Dalot, Luke Shaw, Aaron Wan-Bissaka, Tyler Fredricson*, Bruno Fernandes, Christian Eriksen, Marcel Sabitzer, Fred, Casemiro, Jadon Sancho, Facundo Pellistri, Donny van de Beek, Scott McTominay, Zidane Iqbal*, Kobbie Mainoo*, Anthony Martial, Marcus Rashford, Antony, Wout Weghorst, Anthony Elanga*, Alejandro Garnacho.
Sevilla: Marko Dmitrović, Yassine Bounou,Alberto Flores*, Matías Árbol*, Gonzalo Montiel, Alex Telles, Karim Rekik, Tanguy Nianzou, Marcos Acuña, Marcão, Pablo Pérez*, Valentino Scotta, Diego Hormigo, Loïc Badé, Nemanja Gudelj, Joan Jordán, Ivan Rakitić, Erik Lamela, Fernando, Óliver Torres, Carlos Álvarez*, Manuel Bueno*, Suso, Rafa Mir, Youssef En-Nesyri, Jesús Navas, Alejandro Gómez, Bryan Gil*, Lucas Ocampos.
*Player List B