The much-awaited UEFA Champions League is back in action this week as last season’s semi-finalists Manchester City travel to Spain to face Sevilla. Pep Guardiola’s men have narrowly missed out on winning this competition on over one occasion despite dominating the Premier League. But this season provides a fresh opportunity and a challenge to win this coveted competition.
Sevilla, meanwhile, were knocked out of the Champions League in the group stages last time. They finished third behind LOSC Lille and RB Salzburg and with Manchester City and Borussia Dortmund in the same group, they once again face an arduous task of progressing to the round of 16. Manchester City led by Erling Haaland’s impressive goal-scoring form will face Sevilla on Tuesday at the Estadio Estadio Ramón Sánchez-Pizjuan.
Signed from FC Porto during the 2022 January window, Jesus Corona is ruled out at least until the start of next year due to a fibula fracture. Meanwhile, former Manchester United man Adnan Januzaj was left out of the squad against Barcelona during the weekend but should be back in contention against Man City.
Sevilla have unquestionably suffered from the departures of center halves Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos and to add to their woes, defenders Karim Rekik and Marcao will also be sidelined this week. Jesus Navas could start against his former club along with ever-influential attacking midfielder Papu Gomez.
For Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte will be on the injury table until the international break. Joining him is Kalvin Phillips, who suffered a shoulder injury in the midweek friendly against Barcelona a week back. Guardiola could also be without Kyle Walker, as the manager confirmed he suffered an injury in the game against Aston Villa.
However, Jack Grealish and Nathan Ake are back in contention and might be in line to start against Sevilla. Julian Alvarez was named on the bench against Villa on Saturday and may get his first taste of Champions League football on Tuesday.
Manchester City endured a frustrating draw against Aston Villa. They controlled the game and let Villa have only one shot on target but failed to bury their chances on the other end, despite Haaland getting on the scoresheet. Steven Gerrard’s approach was largely appreciated, rightly so, as his team closed down the spaces quickly and stopped the switch of plays which Man City excels at.
Having said that, the Citizens are in excellent form and this game should be taken as a one-off. The Kevin De Bruyne – Erling Haaland partnership strikes fear in any opposition, and it will undoubtedly be on the back of Sevilla’s mind. Phil Foden, however, struggled to make an impact last game, but that is partly down to the position he was playing.
Guardiola has sacrificed Foden’s ability in the central areas to maintain the width and so the Englishman failed to hit the ground running. Nevertheless, he remains a key part of Pep’s plans and will look to improve his decision-making, especially in the final third. Julian Alvarez, meanwhile, performed brilliantly against Nottingham Forest and fans have questioned his exclusion in the weekend. As a result, there is a possibility that Pep might rest Haaland on Tuesday and start the Argentinian upfront.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have failed to compete in La Liga this season as they are currently 17th on the table with no wins to their name. The departures of Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos have hampered their defensive structure. As per understat, they have the third worst xGA (Expected goals allowed) in the league only behind Elche and Cadiz.
So, facing Manchester City is a humongous task as Sevilla are struggling to find a rhythm. With the likes of Isco, Papu Gomez, and new singing Kasper Dolberg, they will hope to keep their attack flowing. Moreover, with home fans behind them, a positive result is unquestionably achievable for Lopetegui’s men.
Sevilla predicted lineup vs Manchester City: Bono; Navas, Nianzou, Fernando, Acuna; Jordan, Rakitic, Delaney; Lamela, Gomez; En-Nesyri.
Manchester City predicted lineup vs Sevilla: Ederson; Cancelo, Stones, Dias, Ake; Rodri, De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, Julian Alvarez, Grealish.