UEFA Champions League - Round of 16
The final four matches in the Round of 16 take center stage this week, after Real Madrid, Juventus, Liverpool and Manchester City all punched their tickets to the Quarter Finals, the bracket awaits the remaining four sides to chase their dream of European Silverware.
Day one is highlighted by the presence of Manchester United, the Red Devils are looking to join their fellow English sides in the final eight draw, while also attempting to collect their first "UCL" hardware since 2008.
Many believe Man-U are still a season or two away from ultimately returning to prominence, but playing in UEFA's top tournament after several years of massive disappointment's within the club, is a great step in the right direction.
The day continues with Italian giants Roma, welcoming Ukraine outfit Shaktar Donetsk to the Eternal City, after falling 2-1 in the first leg, the Romans are focused on reversing their fortunes, as they look to join fellow Serie A representatives Juventus in the Quarter Finals, based on each teams style of play, we are no doubt in for a very entertaining affair
Enjoy the remaining legs in this seasons Champions League event, with the weight of each club felt by each passing minute, we are certain to see maximum efforts on full display, as Match Day one surely offers the best set of competitive matches on the docket.
20401 Manchester United - 20402 Sevilla
Old Trafford, Manchester, England
3-13-2018 - 3:45 pm ET
The highlighted match of evening presents Spanish side Sevilla traveling to the famed Old Trafford Stadium, Manchester United await them in what should be a preferred version of what was offered in Seville during their first leg fixture, now with both clubs full of ambition to proceed to the Quarter Finals, we should see the very best of what each team have to offer on Match Day 1.
Sevilla head west looking to shock the establishment, after playing to a Nil-Nil draw at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, the Spanish side blew multiple opportunities to arrive in Manchester with a goal advantage, now with their backs too the wall with a clear disadvantage, Los Rojiblancos must remain aggressive and continue to push the Red Devils to grab a decisive away goal, or goals.
The Sevillistas take to the Old Trafford pitch off a tough 0-2 loss to Valencia over the weekend, after once again controlling the match and creating multiple chances on goal, Sevilla were just not able to put the ball in the back of the net, now with their focus squarely on advancing to the next stage in Champions League play, the Seville side have shown they travel well, and will not be overwhelmed by the spectacle that awaits them.
Vincenzo Montella will take another shot at defeating his Managerial idol, having soaked up as much information as possible on one José Mourinho, Montella now looks to best the very man who has influenced his coaching tactics during his time on the sideline, the Italian head man will truly be up for matching wits with the Special One.
The visitors will be close to full strength ahead of Tuesdays fixture, only without the services of Jesus Navas, Sébastien Corchia and newcomer Miguel Layún, the Red and Whites still offer plenty of quality within their squad, Montella has continued to juggle his formations during his time with the Spanish club, rotating from an attacking 4-3-3 alignment, to a more traditional route within a 4-2-3-1 lineup, in attempts to get the best out of his starting eleven.
Sevilla have shown they enjoy pressing clubs high up the pitch, while looking to get behind their opponents looking to puncture the back of the net, Luis Muriel, Pablo Sarabia, Joaquín Correa and the ever present Éver Banega will present the clear dangers to the Red Devils defense.
Muriel has continued to grow into his number nine role with the Spanish outfit, after making the move from Sampdoria in Italy's Serie A, the Colombian has shown true quality at the top of the Sevilla front-line, with 8 Goals scored in all competitions, expect Muriel to be fully committed and engaged at getting behind the defenders and causing havoc in front of the faithful at Old Trafford.
Éver Banega will look to place Muriel in the best positition to succeed, the Argentine International is the straw that stirs the Sevilla offensive flow of attack, the creative Midfielder is highly skilled with the ball at his feet, technically gifted at dribbling to create space, while placing pin-point passes on a silver platter more times than not for his lethal attackers.
Banega will also influence the match with a deadly service game, highly effective within Set Pieces and Direct Free Kick situations, with 6 Goals and 4 Assists in all competitions, the numbers do not truly tell the full story of waht the Sevilla play-maker offers over a full 90 minute shift.
Sevilla have managed to find the back of the net in each one of their away fixtures during European competitions, scoring an average of 1.3 Goals per match during their first 3 Champions League road games.
The Sevilla defense does offer up plenty of worrying trends, conceding an average of 2.7 Goals per match in their first 3 Champions League road games.
Manchester United are fully prepared to handle this specific moment, with a vast amount of big match players within their squad, plus the added bonus of the Special One calling the shots, the Red Devils are in good hands and will be truly prepared for their Champions League encounter on Tuesday.
After winning Group A, the English giants earned the right to host the second leg of this European affair, now with the clear advantage to solidify their spot at the table with the final 8 clubs in the world, Man-U must not over look their Spanish counter parts ahead of this must win event.
The Red Devils enter the match riding high, after going down 2-0 on the road to Crystal Palace, the Manchester Club then reeled off 3 straight goals to shock the Londoners and their loyal supporters.
The Manchester side then followed that up by grabbing 2 first half goals against their arch enemies Liverpool, to take a impressive 2-1 victory in the biggest rivalry in England.
José Mourinho is back in the tournament that made him famous, after leading underdogs Porto to a unbelievable win in 2004, the Portuguese manager has continued to evolve, winning countless trophies in leagues all across Europe, now back in his familiar surroundings, the Special One is sure to have a genius game plan drawn up for this special occasion.
Mourinho will lead his troops onto the pitch with a slew of injuries, still without Phil Jones, Daley Blind, Ander Herrara, Marcos Rojo and most notably Paul Pogba who picked up a knock in training, and is considered doubtful.
The French man has failed to show his true worth while back with Man-U, his transfer last summer was the largest in history at the time from Juventus, but under Mourinho he has often been played out of position, while falling out of favor with the Special One on numerous occasions.
The Portuguese will see the return of Anthony Martial who had been sidelined for the last two matches, the French International provides explosive pace down the wings, and is very skilled within counter attacking scenarios where Sevilla have shown they struggle to defend on a regular basis, with 11 Goals in all competitions, Martial could play a pivotal role if given his chance to shine.
Marcus Rashford, Alexis Sanchez and Romelu Lukaku are all set to position themselves within the Red Devils 4-2-3-1 formation, after having excellent showings against the Reds over the weekend, the trio are fully aware of the situation, and seem more than ready to take their place in the long line of famous Red Devil players.
With 47 Combined Goals in all competitions, the Manchester United attacking presences will certainly be influential over the 90 minute span,we should expect to see one or more of the talented target men, placing the ball in the back of the net against this less than spectacular Sevilla defense.
Manchester United have been clinical while own their own pitch in Europe's main event, posting double figures in all their outings, while scoring an average of 2.3 Goals in their last 3 Champions League home games.
The Red Devils defense has been up to the task, GK - David De Gea has proved to be one of the best keepers in the world, while turning Old Tarfford into a fortress for other clubs to try and break down, the hosts are conceding a microscopic 0.33 Goals per match in their last 3 Champions League home games.
This second leg match should have a few key factors to concentrate on when observing, the Red Devils are obviously the favorites to prevail, and march onto yet another Quarter Final appearance during their rich history, but the fixture must be played, and the Spaniards are a capable side of leaving Manchester with their own victory in hand.
The Red Devils are absolutely dangerous in counter attacking, long balls and through ball situations, while Sevilla have been dreadful in defending all three types of offensive attacks, expect Man-U to routinely run at the visitors back-line, while attempting a barrage of balls over and through the Spanish defense.
Sevilla did show they can create shots on goal against the Red Devils, placing up to 8 shots on target while on their own pitch, Los Rojiblancos must not continue to waste the opportunities they get to punish their opponents, if they are to progress to the next round of this historic event.
Manchester United have consistently shown they are good for at least 2 Goals while at Old Trafford during Champions League play, while Sevilla have also shown their defense will concede goals away from home, this match is setup for another multiple goal effort from the home side, while they prove to have to much quality for their Spanish opponents.
Over 1 -125 / 1.8 - Total 1st Half Goal
Over 2.5 -120 / 1.83 - Total Full Time Goals
Manchester United -0.25 -125 / 1.8 - 1st Half Spread
Manchester United -1 -110 / 1.91 - Full Time Spread
Manchester United - Team Total Over 1.75 -125 / 1.8 - Goals
*UCL Bonus Tips*
20404 Roma - 20405 Shaktar Donetsk
3-13-2018 - 3:45 pm ET
Over 1.25 +100 / 2.0 - Total 1st Half Goals
Roma -0.25 -125 / 1.8 - 1st Half Spread
Roma -0.75 -120 / 1.83 - Full Time Spread
Roma - Team Total Over 1.75 -110 / 1.91 - Goals
Both Teams To Score and Over 2.5 Goals -110 / 1.91
Best Of Luck To All