Will Manchester United finally end their recent Spanish hoodoo?

 

    Credit: (Mick Baker)rooster

 

 

Manchester United will welcome Spanish side Sevilla to Old Trafford on Tuesday in a decisive Champions League last 16 second leg tie with a birth in the quarter finals of Europe’s biggest club competition up for grabs.

The pair have only faced each other on one competitive occasion previously – last month’s stalemate in the first leg at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Here are four talking points to whet your appetite for tomorrow’s clash:

 Old Trafford Fortress

Manchester United’s only home defeat in all competitions this season came against their city rivals and Premier League high-flyers Manchester City in the Manchester Derby back in early December.

Since that defeat, Jose Mourinho’s charges are on an eight game unbeaten run on home soil in all competitions a sequence which has included morale boosting home wins over arch rivals Liverpool and the reigning Premier League champions – Chelsea in the space of 13 days.

The Red Devils can also take confidence from the fact they’ve won all three of their group stage Champions League ties at Old Trafford this season against Swiss champions FC Basel, Portuguese outfit SL Benfica , and Russian side CSKA Moscow,  scoring seven goals and conceding just one in the process.

De Gea to the rescue once again

If there’s one man, United can thank for their clean sheet in Spain last week, it’s their number 1.

The Spanish shot stopper twice denied efforts from Sevilla’s Joaquin Correa before remarkably denying Steven N’Zonzi and Muriel headers from point blank range in an amazing performance in his homeland.

Sevilla could have been two or three goals ahead before half time – effectively killing off the tie if it wasn’t for the Spanish shot stopper’s heroics towards the end of the first half.

His performance was so impressive that it even prompted two Sevilla players to congratulate him at half time.

The hosts will be hoping that the Spaniard isn’t called into action too frequently in Tuesday’s encounter, but are well aware of the qualities that he possesses.

What was also impressive about De Gea was that the saves he made last week were in crucial moments in the game – towards the end of the first half, just when Sevilla were in their stride.

If the English side are to stand a good chance of progressing, the ex-Atletico Madrid man will have to be at his best once again.

 

Sevilla danger men

Wassim Ben Yedder is one name that pops up when talking about Sevilla’s players who could hurt United.

The French striker scored three goals against fellow Premier League opposition Liverpool in the group stage, netting two at home before opening the scoring in a 2-2 draw in the reverse fixture at Anfield.

He has a tally of six goals on six games in this year’s competition.

Ben Yedder’s potential individual duel with De Gea could be a spectacle to watch.

Ex Manchester City men Jesus Navas and Nolito will also be vital for the Spanish outfit off the bench and they will need no extra motivation to take a chance to knock Manchester United out of the Champions League.

 

United record against Spanish opposition

Manchester United have lost both of their most recent knockout ties in Europe against Spanish opposition.

An Ander Herrera-inspired Athletic Bilbao did the double against the Mancunians winning 3-2 at Old Trafford and 2-1 in Spain knocking the English side out in their first ever Europa League quarter-final appearance in the 2011/12 campaign.

Just a year later Cristiano Ronaldo scored the winner for Real Madrid at Old Trafford to condemn his former employers to a controversial defeat in the last 16 of the Champions League, after Nani was sent off for a high boot on Alvaro Arbeloa.

The defeat for 10-man United meant it was a premature end to Sir Alex Ferguson’s last European campaign for the club.

More recently, David Moyes’ United beat Real Sociedad at Old Trafford in the 2013/14 Champions League group stage before drawing a blank at the Anoeta Stadium in the return leg.

 

Kickoff is at 19:45 GMT on BT Sport 2.