The Manchester United fans are feeling confident in the Transfer Tavern ahead of their side’s clash with Sevilla tonight, but they are by no means underestimating their opponents.
Jose Mourinho takes his Manchester United side to Spain tonight to face a side they have never previously faced in the Champions League before. Sevilla have faced Arsenal, Leicester, Manchester City and Liverpool in Europe’s most prestigious cup competition, but this will be their first encounter with the Red Devils.
Sevilla have struggled for consistency in La Liga this season and they currently sit 6 points adrift of the Champions League qualifications spots in 5th place as a consequence. Vincenzo Montella’s side have been on the receiving end of a handful of thrashings this season from the likes of Real Madrid, Valencia and even SD Eibar at the beginning of February, so there are clearly defensive frailties at the club which United should look to exploit this evening.
However, United have plenty of defensive flaws themselves which Sevilla will be looking to take advantage of, so Chris Smalling will need to step up his game and ensure his side keep a clean sheet tonight by keeping a close eye on Sevilla’s French striker Wissam Ben Yedder.
Ben Yedder (valued at £22.5 million by Transfermarkt) has regularly been deployed as the spearhead of the Spanish outfit’s attack so far this season, and Montella’s backing of the 27-year-old has paid off so far. In 30 appearances for Sevilla, Ben Yedder has notched an impressive 17 goals, including 6 from 6 in the Champions League group stages.
The former Toulouse prospect may not be the most physically challenging player to play against at a just 5ft 6inch, but his ability to utilise both pace and agility to run in behind the opposition defence will certainly make life difficult for Smalling this evening.
It is absolutely vital that Smalling switches on from the minute go and ensures to man-mark Ben Yedder during open-play, otherwise United could find themselves chasing the tie when they play their second-leg fixture at Old Trafford in three weeks time.