Sevilla will take their extraordinary 19-game unbeaten run into their Europa League semi-final with Manchester United, and be a genuine threat to the tournament favourites…
It’s Sevilla v Manchester United, then, in the Europa League semi-finals, and it should be quite a game.
“This is easily a Champions League quarter-final sort of game,” said Julien Laurens on The Totally Football Show: Summer Special on Wednesday.
And it’s a repeat of the Champions League knockout game a few years ago, that Sevilla won and Jose Mourinho took really well.
“The ‘football heritage’ that Jose Mourinho brought up still holds,” said James Horncastle. “That was in a competition where Sevilla don’t have football heritage in, but in this one they sure do.”
A couple of individuals will be key for the Andalusian side, as Julien pointed out: “Ever Banega. I know he’s 32 years of age and he’s now going to play in Saudi Arabia to cash in – but what a player. To have so much control, and to dictate the tempo of the game and the pace of it…it’s just wonderful.
“Victor Ocampos – he was a good player for Marseille, but nowhere near the season he’s having for Sevilla. He didn’t have the greatest game overall [against Wolves] but he was there for the key moment, and that’s very valuable for Sevilla.
So who will win? Despite Sevilla’s quality, Julien thinks this one is leaning towards United: “Sevilla play the sort of game United like their opponents to play: they will be happy to let Banega and Joan Jordan have a lot of the ball and hit them on the counter.”
But James Horncastle looks at the form they’re in, and reckons Sevilla are a real threat to United.
“It doesn’t matter how much they change: I think nine of the players who started against Wolves weren’t in the team last year, weren’t at the club. It’s Monchi all over again.
“If you look at the run they’re on: 19 games unbeaten, that’s a club record. It’s a team that isn’t used to losing, they’ve gone into this competition in a great condition and with great confidence, and the performances of the likes of Banega – he looks like he’s in his right environment, and it’s the right place for him.
“It’s going to be a tricky game for United, even though on paper United have more talent.”
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