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Sevilla vs Manchester United: Key battles to look out for

Sevilla vs Manchester United: Key battles to look out for

After contrasting Champions League campaigns up to now, Manchester United travel to face Sevilla in their Champions League first leg last 16 tie.

Jose Mourinho’s United topped Group A shining light on their dismal start domestically while Sevilla scraped through in second place after winning only two of their six Group E games.

Despite the opposing starts, both will be looking to extend their runs further but what on field battles do we need to keep an eye on?

Wissam Ben Yedder vs Eric Bailly 

With a total of 15 goals in all competitions, Wissam Ben Yedder leads Sevilla’s scoring charts and has the ability to pose all kind of problems for Manchester United centre-back Eric Bailly.

Ben Yedder will be looking to capitalise on Bailly’s poor match fitness and could have the upper hand on the defender.

The 23-year-old returned from injury in Saturday’s FA Cup win over Huddersfield and is likely start. Despite only coming on in the 93rd minute meaning that the Ivorian has only played one minute of first team football in the last three months, Mourinho’s defensive options are limited.

It is worth noting Bailly does not boast the most appealing record against Sevilla either,  when playing for Villarreal, he lost all four games against them, including being on the receiving end of  a red card in the Europa League clash in 2015.

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Steven N’Zonzi vs Paul Pogba

Sevilla head coach Vincenzo Montella will opt to use N’Zonzi as a way of keeping of keeping United starlet Paul Pogba out the game.

Pogba, if allowed space, can be the creative spark that make the Red Devils tick and the Frenchman has been directly involved in 12 goals for them this season.

Fellow native, N’Zonzi should be able to read Pogba’s game well having spent large amounts of time with his countryman on international duty.

Pablo Sarabia vs Nemanja Matic

While Ben Yedder may be Los Rojiblancos top scorer, the visitor’s main problems will arise from attacking midfielder Pablo Sarabia.

Four goals in his last five appearances and five assists to his name for the season, the 25-year-old will have to keep away from anchor man Nemanja Matic if he is to create.

Matic has been in colossal form for United’s midfield this season, having made 49 tackles and tackle success rate of 61%.