After their 2-0 victory over Everton on Saturday, Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag criticized the Premier League’s fixture schedule. But, the Dutchman now has the exceptional chance of a four-day respite between matches as the Red Devils make their comeback to the European arena. United will try to repeat its 2017 victory in the UEFA Europa League despite having one trophy under their belt thanks to their Carabao Cup victory (UEL).
With 10 Hag’s team having gone 24 games (W21, D3) without losing at Old Trafford, dating back to September 2022, hosting the opening leg certainly looks to be a favorable omen. Although they have come close to making up for that loss since then, going undefeated in five competitive matches against Spanish opposition, they last suffered a home loss in this competition against Real Sociedad (W4, D1).
But, Sevilla may be a different animal because they have never lost a head-to-head match against the Red Devils before they arrive in Manchester (W2, D1). When Jorge Sampaoli was fired during the international break, the team’s new manager José Luis Mendilibar has presided over an undefeated start (W1, D1), albeit he was disappointed by a 2-2 tie with Celta Vigo in their most recent game.
After his team had two players sent off in that game, Mendilibar called VAR and the referee’s performance “nonsense,” but they won’t be suspended from the trip to England as Sevilla aims to win UEFA’s second-tier competition for a seventh time. They have only won one of their previous eight away games (D1, L6), have lost four straight trips to the UEL, and were eliminated from this competition by English opponents last season. If they are to accomplish that, they will need to improve on the road (West Ham).
Bruno Fernandes, who was named by ten Hag as the finest player on the field against Everton, is United’s most deadly weapon in the UEL after personally assisting on 17 of the team’s goals in 24 outings in this competition (G9, A8). The frontman Youssef En-Nesyri, who has scored in back-to-back games under Mendilibar, may then be used by Sevilla.
Marcus Rashford will not be available for Man United since he injured his groin during the match against Everton on Saturday. The Red Devils announced in a statement that he will miss “a few games,” beginning with the match against Sevilla.
Along with Donny van de Beek, Tom Heaton, and Alejandro Garnacho, Luke Shaw is also sidelined with a recent hamstring injury.
Christian Eriksen, meanwhile, made his return from an ankle injury against Everton on Saturday. Casemiro, who is now eligible to play in Europe and has completed his four-game domestic suspension, will, nevertheless, provide the Red Devils a boost.
Anthony Martial, who has started the team’s previous two games off the bench, could now take Rashford’s spot at center-forward, while Fred could take the place of Scott McTominay, who is now out due to an injury he sustained in training.
Lucas Ocampos, who was suspended for Sevilla’s league match against Celta, is back in the lineup, but Joan Jordan and Jesus Manuel Corona are both injured, while Pape Cheikh is ineligible.
The Brazilian international Alex Telles, who is on loan from Man United, is available to play against his parent club and might even take the field.
There are important decisions for head coach Mendilibar to make across the field, but Youssef En-Nesyri is expected to start at the head of the line because the Moroccan is the team’s top scorer this year with 14, including three goals in Europe.
Although he is available, Marcos Acuna was recently dismissed against Celta in league play. He is anticipated to replace Telles at left-back for the visitors.
Manchester United’s possible starting eleven
De Gea, Dalot, Varane, L Martinez, Malacia, Casemiro, Fred, Fernandes, Antony, Martial, and Sancho.
Sevilla possible starting lineup
Bono, Montiel, Bade, Gudelj, Acuna, Fernando, Rakitic, Ocampos, Torres, Lamela, and En-Nesyri.
We predict: Manchester United 3–1 Sevilla
Despite having a stellar season, Sevilla has had a rough season and we are finding it difficult to support them to win this match despite their impressive record in this competition. Man United should be able to secure a significant first-leg advantage because to their better caliber.