Prediction: Sevilla to win 3-2
Two of the favourites for this year’s UEFA Europa League crown, Sevilla and AS Roma, clash on Thursday evening as they face off in the Round of 16.
Both teams will be aiming to lift the trophy in a couple of weeks’ time, with this rearranged fixture giving the winner a chance to face either Wolverhampton Wanderers or Olympiakos in the quarter-finals.
Serial winners of the Europa League having lifted the trophy on five occasions throughout their history, Spanish side Sevilla are the most successful side in the competition, ahead of the likes of Juventus, Inter Milan, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid. Once again, they will be aiming to reach the quarter-finals, which before last season’s defeat to Slavia Prague at this stage, the Spaniards had not failed to reach when in the competition since the 2010/11 season. There is an intriguing statistic when it comes to their success in the Europa League though; they are usually better when having not won their group at the group stage. Only in 2005/06 did they go all the way to lift the trophy when winning their group. They then will be hoping to rectify that record having run out victors in a group that included APOEL, Qarabag and F91 Dudelange.
Tomas Vaclick remains a huge doubt for the Spanish outfit having missed the last four matches of the domestic season, with Yassine Bounou continuing to deputise between the sticks. Midfielder Fernando is also out and is likely to be on the sidelines, as is Nemanja Gudelj as he remains in quarantine from coronavirus. There have also been two significant departures from the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, with Ever Banega and Sergio Reguilon seeing their loan deals expire.
Much like Sevilla, Italian outfit Roma have a long history in the Europa League having embarked on 16 campaigns in the proper competition. Unlike their upcoming opponents however, they have never actually lifted the trophy having only reached one final in the 1990/91 season where they were beaten by Serie A rivals Inter Milan. As a matter of fact, in their last eight campaigns in the competition, they have not even managed to reach the quarter-finals, a record they will hope to end against Sevilla in Germany. Their current form might suggest that they could do that though. The Giallorossi are undefeated in their last eight matches, winning seven of those. The latest one was a mightily impressive one too as they managed to beat recently-crowned Serie A champions Juventus 3-1 away from home. In those eight games, they also found the net with ruthless efficiency, netting on 22 occasions.
Paulo Fonseca’s men have been dealt a huge blow with central defender Chris Smalling returning to Manchester United after his loan deal at the Stadio Olimpico ended. Federico Fazio could be selected in the Englishman’s place. Elsewhere, central-midfielder Jordan Veretout is out through suspension and joins Lorenzo Pellegrini and Antonio Mirante on the sidelines.
Key Facts To Consider
- AS Roma have only won one game out of their last seven against Spanish opposition (D1, L5)
- Sevilla are currently on a run of 17 matches undefeated
- Munir has netted five goals in the competition already this season
- Sevilla are yet to concede a ‘home’ goal in the Europa League this season
- Roma have not won an away knockout European tie since the 2016/17 season where they beat Villarreal 4-0
This match really should be a great watch. Each side have a realistic chance of winning this competition and are packed with plenty of goals so we could be in for an absolute thriller, one that Sevilla should just edge.
Prediction: Sevilla to win 3-2
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