Manchester United v Sevilla: Guillem Balague previews Champions League last 16 second-leg...

Manchester United v Sevilla: Guillem Balague previews Champions League last 16 second-leg tie

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Before Sevilla’s return leg with Manchester United in the Champions League last 16, Sky Sports‘ Spanish football expert Guillem Balague assesses just what health the visitors are in for their trip to Old Trafford.

It is clear Sevilla will be confronted with the most in-form Manchester United of the season. United have got an amazing record at Old Trafford, having only lost to Manchester City in 20 home games this season.

In that period United have scored 46 goals and conceded just 10 – one every two matches. This is what Sevilla have to face and this is a Sevilla side with doubts.

The style of head coach Vincenzo Montella is similar with Unai Emery, but the Italian doesn’t make enough changes during or between games and shows a lack of understanding the opposition. You could see that Valencia are dangerous on the counter, but Sevilla did not defend against that in their 2-0 defeat against them in La Liga on Saturday.

With the pace of Marcus Rashford and the strength of Romelu Lukaku, we have to see if they can respond to that threat better than Liverpool did on Saturday. It looks to be a tough ask, with the back four set to be reshuffled in the absence of Miguel Layun. Gabriel Mercado and Nicolas Pareja may come into the team, but you have to wonder if they will be able to defend well against United’s attack.

Sevilla are now fifth in La Liga, but they are 11 points behind fourth so they probably won’t be able to get into the Champions League next season via that route. However, despite their current position in the table, the club have the seventh-worst defensive record in the Spanish top flight, conceding 42 goals and five in a single game on four occasions.

Sevilla have also been beaten in the league 11 times already this campaign, six more than their tally at the same stage of last season.

Another worrying stat as far as Sevilla are concerned is that they have not picked up a single point in their six encounters with the top four sides in Spain so far this season. In fact, against the top four, the club have conceded 20 goals and scored just three.

And having lost 2-0 at home against Valencia on the weekend, I’m not very confident they can progress against United, who are clear favourites.

(c) Sky News 2018: Manchester United v Sevilla: Guillem Balague previews Champions League last 16 second-leg tie