Writers United: Hola, Sevilla!!

The guys talk about the upcoming tie vs Sevilla, and how they think the games will pan out –

Andy Warrant – Sevilla are well known for their recent European success but that all came in the Europa League. The side that destroyed Liverpool in the final of that competition a couple of years ago has been ripped apart and they definitely do not pose the same threat as they once did. In truth, United couldn’t have asked for a better draw to advance to the quarter-final stage, which at the outset would have been the minimum they would have expected. The Spanish side are very much a mid-table side in La Liga and should not cause too many issues for United. Having said that, Mourinho’s men are hardly at the top of their own game which is why this tie may not be as simple as it looked when the draw was made back in December. If they repeat the performances of Newcastle and Spurs then it doesn’t matter who they play but I expect Mourinho to play an extra defensive midfielder in the away leg to keep it tight, which could make for a boring spectacle but he will fancy United turning them over at Old Trafford. I still think United will be too strong and qualify for the last 8 but I don’t think it will be as easy as what City and Liverpool have made it so far. I will go for a 1-1 draw away and 2-0 at home.

Bob Priestley – Since the draw for this tie was made, Sevilla’s manager was replaced with Vicenzo Montella, who lost his first game against Betis, Sevilla’s greatest rivals. However, since then they’ve only lost twice (although one of those games was a 5-1 battering to Eibar) so the Italian looks like he may have got his feet under the desk. United’s recent form hasn’t been great and there’s also the possibility that there’s a growing rift between Pogba and Jose. I’m pretty sure it will be a difficult tie but United I reckon they’ll sneak through. I can’t see this United team tearing anyone apart at the moment.

Harshal Patel – United come into this tie with a few questions being raised about the squad and Jose Mourinho. They are second in the league, but have allowed the gap to the other Champions League challengers to shrink with a couple of limp displays. Paul Pogba doesn’t look too happy at the moment, with rumours of a falling out between him and the manager. Ultimately, though, United have been struggling recently, and will need to be at their absolute best to knock out a very good Sevilla side. The Andalusian outfit have been superb in the Europa League in recent years, and while they have somewhat fallen away in La Liga after an excellent start, they cannot be taken lightly. The away leg at the Sanchez Pizjuan will be especially tricky, with Los Rojiblancos enjoying an excellent home record over the past couple of seasons. They have a number of dangerous players, with Wissam Ben Yedder having an excellent Champions League so far, and Ever Banega pulling the strings from midfield, and I do not expect United to keep a clean sheet over the two legs. They will have to defend well, and the likes of Sanchez and Lukaku will need to take their chances when they arrive in order to ensure that United progress to the quarter-finals.

Rodney McCain – United aim to continue the Premier League clubs’ very good record thus far in this season’s Champions League last 16 Round when they travel to Sevilla this week in what will undoubtedly prove to be a tricky tie. The Spanish club are regular European competitors, and though they are no Barcelona or Real Madrid in terms of quality, they are not to be dismissed lightly- I’m sure Jose Mourinho won’t make that mistake. United undoubtedly have more top quality players in our squad but Sevilla have a number of dangerous players of their own, none more so than French striker Wissam Ben Yedder, who has been a regular scorer in this season’s competition so far. I expect this to be a stern test of United’s credentials but ultimately if we harbour any serious ambitions of winning our fourth European Cup, Sevilla should be beaten over two legs. They proved stubborn opposition for Liverpool in the Group stage but I hope they’ll find the likes of Lukaku, Sanchez, Pogba and Martial to be much more difficult opponents than they normally face against most La Liga sides… United to win over two legs but perhaps only by a slim margin of a goal or two. To be honest I’ll take any kind of aggregate victory, because there are no mugs left beyond this stage of Europe’s premier club competition, and I don’t see us thrashing any opponent in the manner that Manchester City and Liverpool have done in their opening games, though I’d rate Sevilla as stronger opposition than either F.C. Basel or F.C. Porto. Wednesday, away from home, will suit Mourinho’s preferred tactic of sitting in, being difficult to break down and hitting very hard on the break…. let’s hope the boys have brought their “shooting” boots!!

Ross Dawson – While I think we, as United fans, were satisfied with the draw initially, Sevilla are certainly no slouches. United’s form in the last month hasn’t been entirely convincing, though we’ve managed to get the job done when it’s really mattered. Sevilla were thrashed 5-1 in Moscow in the group stages, but were undefeated at home. I think the key to this tie is to be wary of players like N’Zonzi who’ll run United’s midfield ragged, and focus on getting some crucial away goals before bringing it home to Old Trafford. I’m confident we can do it, but Sevilla have some serious quality in that side. I’m predicting us to go through on a 3-2 aggregate at the end of the two legs.

Alex Demarco – A few weeks ago, I would have been a lot more confident about the trip to Sevilla but now I’m not quite sure which United will turn up on Wednesday night. We started off the new year in great form but performances in the last couple of weeks just haven’t been good enough. The win at Huddersfield will be a good morale booster and we’ll need the likes of Romelu Lukaku to be in that sort of ruthless form if we are to get anything from the Sevilla game. I expect Paul Pogba to back in the starting line-up and he’s one who needs to rediscover his early season form as soon as possible, especially with Chelsea coming to Old Trafford next weekend. Despite being in fifth place in the La Liga standings, Sevilla will definitely be no pushovers and the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium will be an intimidating venue. United would do well to keep an eye on striker Wissam Ben Yedder, who has proven to be quite capable of finding the back of the net on European nights, scoring six times in the group stage. Despite our inconsistent form of late, I think United will be in the driving seat for the second leg and I can see us grabbing a narrow away win.