Writers United: We’re Going to Seville-a (ft. Almost Everyone)

The guys give their initial thoughts on the Champions League draw, which paired United with Sevilla:

Alex Demarco: Not the worst draw we could have asked for, especially when considering the fact that we avoided the likes of Real Madrid and Bayern Munich. Even though they’re currently sitting in fifth place in La Liga, Sevilla will prove to be a tough team to beat, especially in front of their vociferous supporters at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium. Being handed the away leg first is definitely an advantage for Manchester United though, as they will hope to get an away goal and be able to control the return match at Old Trafford. Despite the fact that they’ve only managed to score 19 goals in the league this season, the lowest from any of Spain’s top seven sides, Jose Mourinho will be well aware of the threat provided by striker Wissam Ben Yedder, who scored six goals in his side’s six Champions League group stage matches this season. I’m confident that United will prove to be too strong for Sevilla and have what it takes to qualify for the last eight.

Harshal Patel: My first reaction when I saw we got Sevilla was that we dodged a bullet. No disrespect to Sevilla, but they’re significantly easier opposition than Bayern, Juve or Real. That being said, their home form is superb, and they have some good players. We can’t take this one lightly at all. Ever Banega and Steven N’Zonzi are a brilliant midfield combination, while Pablo Sarabia, Wissam Ben Yedder and Luis Muriel give them a pacy threat on the counter. And of course, their two ex-City wingers Nolito and Jesus Navas will want to get one over us. Plus, all the emotion around Eduardo Berizzo getting diagnosed with cancer will make it some occasion at the Sanchez Pizjuan; we’ll need to be clever to get a result there. Overall, I’m happy with the draw; we haven’t played Sevilla in the recent past and it should be a good fixture. United should be able to beat them over the two legs.

Bob Priestley: So it’s Sevilla then! It’s a draw that United should be able to pass through unscathed but is by no means an easy one. Sevilla are a decent side with recent European pedigree. They also have a team filled with technical players that should cause our defence a fair amount of problems. However, our squad is still very strong and last year showed we are able to win games over two legs. Sevilla came second in a relatively weak group, which despite our stuttering finish to the group stage, bodes well for when we face each other. I think we are definitely the favourites, but we’re not through yet. United will need to be smart in Spain and then beat them at home to get through.

Rodney McCain: To be honest I’d have preferred FC Porto, but given we could have been sitting here staring at Real Madrid or Bayern Munich, you’ve got to be happy enough getting paired with Sevilla. They are a very decent side who consistently perform well in a tough league like La Liga so will need to be treated with huge respect, but they, in turn, won’t be that pleased to have drawn United, and I certainly think that we can get the better of them over two legs. Being away from home first will suit Mourinho’s tactical set-up, and with possibly a couple of new faces arriving in January, it remains to be seen what sort of form United are in by the time these fixtures get played in the springtime. After yesterday’s poor showing in the Manchester Derby, the Champions League may be our main target for some silverware by then, as it’s hard to see Manchester City falling apart in the Premier League now, so I’d expect us to be going “hell for leather” in this competition, though as we know well enough, overcoming some of the giants of European football to win the European Cup is a colossal task.