A spot in the Europa League final is nearing for grabs when the two powerhouses in Sevilla and Manchester United lock horns in Sunday’s semi-final in Cologne.
Courtesy of a slim quarter-final victory over Wolverhampton, Sevilla reached the last four while United recorded a 1-0 success of their own against Copenhagen.
In recent times, Sevilla has been known for their Europa League exploits and the La Liga outfit are still on course to add to their five-time record triumph this season.
Between 2014 and 2016, Unai Emery was the mastermind behind the three consecutive Europa League crowns for Sevilla. However, Los Palanganas had a run worth to forget in the last campaign as they bowed out at the last-16 stage to Slavia Prague.
However, Sevilla will certainly not be looking back at that disappointment as they enter the semi-final showdown with United on a 19-game unbeaten streak across all competitions.
Lopetugui’s men are already assured of Champions League qualification owing to their fourth-placed finish in the 2019/20 La Liga season. However, a Silverware piece at the end of a turbulent season would grant Sevilla confidence to push on and try to reduce the gap to Real Madrid and Barcelona next season.
Manchester United has as well Cemented their place in Europa’s elite competition for next season. But, if Solskjaer wants to lay down a marker ahead of the new campaign, a trophy is essential.
Similar to Sevilla, United have produced good records following the restart and have only tasted defeat once in their last 24 matches. Nonetheless, the Old Trafford side never cruised past LASK and Copenhagen by any means.
Fernandes was once again the hero from the spot for Solskjaer’s side who were unable to break down the impenetrable wall Copenhagen had built up.
Eventually, United got the job done with a penalty kick converted by Fernandes. Therefore, the 2016/17 Europa League champions will be looking to replicate their three years ago success where they overcame Ajax in the final at the Friend Arena in Sweden.
Winners of this game will either meet Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk on 21st August for the finals.
Lopetegui will stick with the same starting lineup that silenced Wolves. This will mean another start for Yassine Bounou in goal following his penalty save from Jimenez.
The center-back pairing of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde have both linked with moves elsewhere during the summer transfer window. But, the duo will be focused on keeping Fernandes and co at bay.
For United, Solskjaer may revert back to the majority of the tried-and-tested line up which dispatched teams with relative ease upon restart.
This will mean Nemanja Matic in the middle alongside Paul Pogba while Victor Lindelof may replace Eric Bailly in the heart of United’s defense,
Bruno Fernandes, Mason Greenwood, Anthony Martial, and Marcus Rashford-despite a remarkable 65 goals and 23 assists between them this season-will be in for a difficult night against the staunch reargued action of Sevilla.