It’s a bumper evening of European football on Thursday night with the UEFA Europa League Quarter-Final first legs included in the schedule. One of the stand-out games is the 8pm BST start of Manchester United vs Sevilla at Old Trafford. Can either team take a firm advantage into the second leg or will they cancel each other out?
Mixed Fortunes For ten Hag
The build-up to this game has delivered some contrasting news for United head coach Erik ten Hag. The Dutchman is set to welcome back key central midfielder Casemiro who has been completing his 4-game suspension but the bad news is that match-winning striker Marcus Rashford is expected to “miss a few games” with his groin injury that he picked up in the weekend 2-0 league win over Everton. Interestingly, Casemiro is priced at 33/1 with Bet365 to be sent off and the odds of him picking up a card during the 90 minutes is 7/4 with the same bookmaker.
Results have shown a bounce back from the 2-0 loss to Newcastle in the league on 2nd April thanks to back-to-back clean sheet wins over Brentford and Everton. This pair of dogged performances has shown the team have adapted to defending more resolutely without Casemiro in the middle. Now he is back I fully expect them to go from strength to strength in that respect. The price on the Red Devils making it a win with three clean sheets in a row in all competitions is 5/4 with BetVictor.
The big question remains over who will pick up the goals in the absence of Rashford. Antony has scored 2 goals in his last 3 games for United and he’s at 11/4 with William Hill to score anytime. Wout Weghorst and Bruno Fernandes are two other likely candidates and they can be found at 7/4 and 5/2 respectively with the same bookie. A dark horse shout is central midfielder Scott McTominay. He has bagged a few goals lately having scored in United’s most recent league game and bagging 4 goals in 2 caps for Scotland during the international break. You can grab him at 6/1 to score anytime here.
New Man Mendilibar to Continue Encouraging Start?
Things might be more settled than in a long time for United but it’s a contrasting tale for their opponents heading into this game. Sevilla are on their third manager already this season after the departure of Julen Lopetegui in October and the sacking of Jorge Sampaoli last month. Former Eibar and Real Valladolid gaffer Jose Luis Mendilibar is the man that has been handed the reigns now and it’s been a positive start for the 62-year-old.
A 2-0 victory away to Cadiz in La Liga was followed up by a 2-2 draw at home with Celta Vigo in the league. If you fancy backing them to score over 1.5 goals for a third game in a row then that is available at 4/1 with Unibet here. Those two results have lifted the club up to 13th position in the table and 5 points off the relegation zone. Hopes of qualifying for Europe next season are now firmly resting on their progress within this competition.
The club have struggled on their travels in Europe this season. No win in their 5 away games stretching across the failed UEFA Champions League group stage campaign and the now UEFA Europa League knockout phase has also seen them fail to even score in 3 of those matches. It is also worth noting that they have already visited Manchester once this season after losing 3-1 away to Manchester City in the Champions League group stage.
Semi-Final Heartache Still Raw For United
Some things feel like they happened yesterday and that’s certainly the case for United fans when it comes to their Europa League 2019/20 semi-final defeat to Sevilla. The game was played as a one-off encounter due to the delay after the covid-19 pandemic. Lopetegui was in charge of Sevilla back then and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer was manager for United in that 2-1 win for the Spanish side.
That loss to Sevilla made it three competitive matches without a victory for United in this fixture. The only time these two clubs have met at Old Trafford was back in the second legs of the last 16 back in the 2017/18 Champions League. A swift brace from French striker Wissam Ben Yedder knocked a Jose Mourinho-managed United out. Is now the time for United to wreak revenge?
Manchester United vs Sevilla Betting Tips
I think it’s fair to say that Manchester United are moving in the right direction under ten Hag. The fact they have already won a trophy this season has taken the pressure off. Yes, it may only be the Carabao Cup but it’s still an end to the barren run. Can they go all the way and win this trophy? I don’t see why not. The dodgy spell of results in March appears to have been navigated through. Rashford is a massive loss but now is the time for others to step up.
Anthony Martial could be in line for a return and it would be sensational if he got the first goal at 4/1 with Betfair against the team where he spent last season on loan. I am wary that United have conceded in 3 of their 5 home games in Europe this season but I feel ten Hag has evolved them defensively to tighten things up and it’s worked. So, here are my Europa League tips for the game:
Manchester United to Win to Nil @ 5/4 with Boylesports
Total Goals Scored Under 2.5 @ 23/20 with BetVictor
All odds are accurate at the time of writing.
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