Football expert Ryan Elliott has two tips for Manchester United's huge Europa League semi-final against Sevilla.
Sevilla vs Manchester United has the potential to be a proper Europa League blockbuster.
The Spaniards, who have won this competition a record five times, know all about navigating these latter Europa League stages, and while Manchester United’s deep reserves of quality has them down as favourites on Sunday, Julen Lopetegui will feel confident his side can progress to yet another final.
Both sides endured incredibly tough, closely-fought quarter-finals. Sevilla were better than Wolves, but it still took a very late Lucas Ocampos winner to down Nuno’s men, while United were taken to extra-time by FC Copenhagen, although it was goalkeeper Karl-Johan Johnsson who kept the Danes in the game for so long.
It’s looking like a tough one to call, this, as both teams are in fantastic form. United have lost just one game since January, while Sevilla are totally unbeaten since February, which shows just how strong these two sides are.
The teams met in the Champions League a couple of years ago, where Sevilla beat United 2-1 on aggregate, although there’s an argument to be made that both sides are stronger this season.
That said, I am tipping Sevilla to qualify for the final. This is partly a price play, as the safety net of a Sevilla win after extra time, plus the fact that they’re unbeaten in so long, and the fact they have such a good record in this competition, means this is a tempting path to take.
Sevilla totally controlled the game against Wolves, and while United are formidable going forward, the four-time winners have seven clean sheets from their last eight games, and with such a solid base, it only takes a moment of magic from the likes of Ever Banega to unlock the United defence.
It’ll be incredibly tight, but Sevilla are my pick to go through.
On the topic of this Sevilla solidity, I’m also backing the score to be 0-0 at half-time.
Seven of Sevilla’s 10 Europa League games this season have been goalless at the break, and with the stakes so high in this one-legged shootout, you can expect yet another tense affair on Sunday.
United have been a little more free-scoring, but we’ve still seen just one first-half goal scored at either end in their last three European games, which is why this market has caught my eye.