Sevilla and Manchester United will meet for the first time in the Europa League in the first semi-final of the 2019-20 campaign at The RheinEnergieStadion, Cologne. The one-off last four fixture is scheduled to take place tonight and the winner of the tie will face either Inter Milan or Shakhtar Donetsk in the final next Friday at the same venue.
Though, many of us would've loved to see Manchester United and Sevilla clash in the final, tonight, when the two former champions go head-to-head we can expect it to be one of the most entertaining games of the season.
Both the sides have seen a great run of form since resuming their season back in June and ended their domestic league campaigns on a high.
Sevilla are now 19 games unbeaten in all competitions and they couldn't have hit top form at a better time. They defeated Roma and Wolves en route to the last four working like a well-oiled machine.
Manchester United finished third in the Premier League and were the favourites to win the Europa League but their sluggish performance against Copenhagen has cast a shadow of doubt over their chances of heading into the final.
Manchester United might've breezed through the competition to reach the semi-final but they face their litmus test against Sevilla, one of the most successful sides in the history of the competition. They have a 100% record in the semi-final and have won the competition on the five occasions they have made it to this stage since 2006.
Some of the competition's most in-form players will be in action in when these two sides meet tonight and here we take a look at the 5 top players who can make a difference in the game.
Five key players to watch out for in Manchester United's semi-final showdown against Sevilla:
#5 Éver Banega (Sevilla)
Éver Banega has emerged as the backbone of Sevilla this season and displayed his positional awareness and shrewd distribution skills to almost single-handedly dictate his side's attacking play.
The 32-year-old midfielder is the only player from Sevilla's starting XI in their 2-1 win over United the 2017-18 Champions League Round of 16 clash still playing regularly for the Andalusians.
Banega attempted 86.3 passes per 90 minutes during the league campaign, the second-highest of all midfielders in La Liga, most of those were into the final third with 104 of his passes resulting in shots on goal.
He was on top of his game in their win over Wolves in the quarter-final fixture as almost everything went through Banega who ended the game with 139 touches and completed 109 passes. He also bagged the assist for the winner in the 88th minute from a free-kick.
He has three assists in five appearances in the competition so far and generated 2.2 key passes a game as well. Though his contributions are not visible in the stats it is quite evident that he pulls all the strings in the middle of the park for Julen Lopetegui's men and stopping him is a must for United.
#4 Anthony Martial (Manchester United)
Anthony Martial has been Manchester United's player of the season so far and will be one of the players that everyone, especially Sevilla's defenders would need to keep an eye on tonight.
He has stepped up in the role as a central striker this season and filled in the void left by Romelu Lukaku's departure wonderfully. He scored 17 goals in the Premier League, the most non-penalty goals scored by a player in the seven years since Sir Alex Ferguson’s retirement from Manchester United.
He has been in fine form since the lockdown and his understanding with Marcus Rashford, Bruno Fernandes and Mason Greenwood has been crucial to Manchester United's exploits in the front of the goal in the last two months.
He will likely lead the attack once again against Sevilla and we could expect another scintillating performance from him, as we have seen him do often this term.