Manchester United and Sevilla are set to battle it out this weekend when they will go head-to-head for a place in this season’s Europa League final.
United will have their work cut-out on August 16 as five-time competition winners Sevilla head into this year’s semi-final in fine form having only lost one of their last 25 Europa League knockout matches.
Ahead of Sunday’s crucial semi-final, we have assessed three main areas of threat which the Reds will need to be wary of should they come through the difficult tie unscathed.
Ever Banaga’s midfield dominance
Banega, 32, is like a fine wine, he simply just gets better and better with age.
The experienced midfielder put in a sheer footballing masterclass against Nuno Espírito Santo’s Wolves last night as his ability to dictate proceedings and unlock the usually resilient Wolves back-line helped secure his side a place in the semi-finals.
Banega completed a whopping 107 passes out of 117 which was over half of his opponents successful passes combined, as per Wyscout.
The Argentinian must not be allowed time and room to operate and should be closed down and shut down as quickly and as effectively as possible. If United want to beat Sevilla, they have to beat Banega, it really is as simple as that.
The final product of Sergio Reguilón
Sevilla left-back Reguilón’s string of fine performances have seen him catch the eye of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including the likes of Napoli and Chelsea according to Gianluca Dimarzio.
The young Spanish full-back is arguably one of Sevilla’s best attacking outlets as he constantly seeks to stretch the play and whip balls into the box.
It will be absolutely imperative that United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka is at his defensive best on Sunday evening as the Reds will need to ensure Reguilón isn’t allowed to get forward as much as he normally does.
Sevilla have won 152 aerial duels in their opponent’s box throughout this season’s Europa League with their latest being a header from forward Lucas Ocampos which secured their place in the semi-finals after his side’s 1-0 win over Wolves last night.
A combination of aerial prowess and quality in delivery by their wide-men, Sevilla must not be allowed to get the best of the Reds in the air.
Captain Harry Maguire will need to ensure that his back-line is well managed and all the United players mark their counterparts effectively during set-pieces.