Tonight Sevilla FC walk back out onto the famous Old Trafford turf for the first time since our 3-1 victory there when they played in Manchester United and England legend Rio Ferdinand’s testimonial match back in August 2013. So much has changed in the 4.5 years since that game, with both teams almost unrecognisable from then both on and off the pitch.
For Sevilla the only surviving squad member of that day is Nico Pareja, who although made the trip to England is unlikely to feature. As has been discussed at length on our forums, due to injury and ineligibility we have a drastic lack of right full backs. Jesus Navas, who was perhaps our man of the match in the first leg is out, so Montella has a dilemma on his hands. If Mercado is used at right back then maybe Pareja will make the step up? Kjaer will likely be ahead of him if need be.
Manchester United although seemingly tame at times have proven that they are a different beast at Old Trafford, and easily dispatched of in-form and goal happy Liverpool at the weekend. They got their goals early and shut up shop, strangling the life out of the game in a way that only Jose Mourinho can. Not even fellow super villain Diego Simone can compete with him in this regard. So I suspect they will try the same formula tonight as they did against Liverpool, namely attack us with pace and hope to have a comfortable lead to hold on to.
This scenario would be unwelcome for us, as if we fall behind we don’t carry much of a threat going forward these days. Against Man Utd in the RSP we controlled the game, but apart from one massive save from de Gea we rarely threatened to score. This has been epitomized by the fact that our top scorer this season Ben Yedder actually has scored more goals in the Champions League (8) than he has in the league (6)!! For whatever reason Montella doesn’t seem to fancy him as his first choice, but unless Muriel starts putting away his chances Sevillistas will demand a change in that area.
Let’s be brutally honest, this season has been a very poor one for us, and despite some decent results Montella has yet to inspire confidence that he is the man to lead us to glory long term. All that would be forgotten about, at least for a while, if he could somehow pull off a performance and result like he did away to Atletico Madrid in the Cup. Tonight a score draw is all we need to take us into the quarter finals for the first time in our history. If we play to our best we can do it, and in the process Montella’s reputation will undoubtedly go up in our collective estimations.
¡VAMOS MI SEVILLA!
To get us in the mood here is a video of the last time we played at Old Trafford in that horrendous yellow kit