Barcelona will face the Manchester United in the Europa League as they finally look for some European success. Sevilla return the competition which they have won more than anyone else in history against PSV Eindhoven.
The Blaugrana will be attempting to win the competition in order save some face after their heavy investment could not get them through the Champions League group stages. Last season they fell at the quarter-final stages to Eintracht Frankfurt, after victories over Napoli and Fenerbahce.
Perhaps the most glamorous tie that could have possibly been drawn out of the hat, these two were playing a Champions League final 11 years ago. Now they go head-to-head in the Europa League.
Xavi Hernandez’s revolution at Barcelona skidded to a halt in the Champions League group stages, even if they are keeping up with Real Madrid in La Liga. He will hope that a fully fit defence can go a significant way to helping ease their tendency to crumble in midweek.
Manchester United are undergoing their own revolution under Erik ten Hag and there have been bumps, as is to be expected. Their Premier League form has picked up to leave them on the edge of the Champions League spots (5th), but not quite in them after Unai Emery’s Aston Villa dealt them defeat at the weekend. Their inability to top their Europa League group ahead of an injury-decimated Real Sociedad has to go down as a disappointment too.
The pair have met on 13 occasions, with Barcelona enjoying the better of it. The Catalans have won six, drawn three and lost four against the Red Devils. Their last meeting came in the 2019 Champions League quarter-finals, Barcelona running out 4-0 aggregate winners thanks to Lionel Messi – that was the only time they have crossed paths since the 2011 final.
Meanwhile Sevilla will welcome back PSV Eindhoven captain Luuk de Jong. A talented side coached by Ruud van Nistlerooij, including the highly touted Cody Gakpo and Xavi Simons, PSV only finished narrowly second to Arsenal in their group.
Jorge Sampaoli will be hoping his side can recover from injuries and poor form after a dreadful start to the season which has them 17th in the table. They are only out of the relegation zone on goal difference. Unless he can turn things around, PSV will fancy their chances against the weakest Sevilla in several seasons.
It will be the first ever meeting between the two teams, although Sevilla have lost two and won one of their three ties against AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord in their experience of Dutch opposition, the win coming against AZ.
Source by Football Espana