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UCL PREVIEW - MANCHESTER UNITED VS SEVILLA

UCL PREVIEW - MANCHESTER UNITED VS SEVILLA

2018-03-12 
| by Editor | Posted in Betting Previews

Just a few days after an exciting 2-1 win over Liverpool, Manchester United return to the thick of Champions League action with so much hanging in the balance and everything still to play for in the second leg versus Sevilla. Last month, the Reds barely survived their trip to the Estadio Ramon Sanchez, only managing to come away with a 0-0 draw thanks to David De Gea’s heroics in goal, which are fast becoming the order of the day.

But performances must improve on Tuesday as Sevilla outshot United in the first leg. But there won’t be any margin for error since United failed to score an away goal in Spain. Any score draw will knock the Reds out of the Champions League. This is a must-win for Joe Mourinho’s men.

Thankfully, visiting teams rarely find any joy at Old Trafford these days. In twenty home matches in 2017/18, United have won seventeen with only one loss coming against Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City. Even better, they are rounding into form at exactly the right time.

Since that night at Sevilla, United have three straight wins and have regained their footing after a tempestuous February. United needed comebacks to beat Chelsea and Crystal Palace but wasted no time in firmly grabbing control of Saturday’s match against Liverpool.

A first-half brace from Marcus Rashford was all that was needed as it proved the difference. Although Liverpool had 68% possession, they did little with it — mustering only two shots on goal. In fact, their only goal came courtesy of United’s Eric Bailly, who made his first start for the club since returning from ankle surgery. Bar that sloppy mistake, Bailly played well and provided much-needed strength and speed to the United defense. The entire United backline was superb as the famous lethal trio of Mane, Firmino and the current best player in the Premier League Mohamed Salah all couldn’t manage a shot on target.

One player growing in importance every week is the young Scott McTominay. The 21-year-old midfielder hounded Sevilla’s Ever Banega throughout the first leg and will likely be called upon again for a repeat of that outstanding performance. McTominay’s young legs pair well with the power and experience of Nemanja Matic.

Sevilla have not fared nearly so well as United since the first meeting on February 21. They have lost twice in that time, including a 5-2 thrashing by Atletico Madrid and a 2-0 reverse against Valencia on Saturday.

The Valencia loss is especially damaging, as Sevilla now trail them by 11 points for the final Champions League spot in La Liga. With only ten matches remaining in the league season, their odds don’t look good.

Even more troubling, Marca reports that winger Jesus Navas is doubtful to make the trip to Manchester. He played the full 90 minutes in the first leg and will be a big loss for Sevilla.

Manchester United enter this pivotal round-of-sixteen decider on a major high. The squad’s confidence must be through the roof after big wins over top-four rivals Chelsea and Liverpool. But there has been a sign of trouble lurking behind the positive results — no clean sheets in the last three matches. Any goals surrendered to Sevilla on Tuesday could prove fatal to United’s Champions League future.

Mourinho needs to tighten his defense — although they mostly looked great against Liverpool — and will be looking to the prowess and power of Rashford and Romelu Lukaku to another big Champions League victory.

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