Wolves vs Sevilla
Schauinslnad Reine Arena, Duisburg
Tuesday, 11-08-2020 @10pm
Ref: Daniele Orsato (Italy)
Wolves were grouped with Sporting Braga, Slovan Bratislava and Besiktas in Group K of the competition but managed to go through the group as runners up amidst a hectic fixture list juggling two other competitions. They dropped points only twice in the process, a 1-0 loss and a 3-3 draw against Sporting Braga.
Post that, Wolves managed to beat Espanyol 6-3 on aggregate in the Round of 32, and then Olympiacos with a 2-1 scoreline in the Round of 16 to reach the quarter-finals, where they face Sevilla.
Sevilla have managed to undergo a resurgence season under Julen Lopetegui who has implemented his trademark possession-based, fluid style of football. They were faced with a relatively more comfortable group in the Europa League, with APOEL Nicosia, Qarabag, and F91 Dudelange. They only sustained the one loss in the group – 1-0 against APOEL.
Their tie in the Round of 32 was comparatively uneventful, though. Sevilla were faced with CFR Cluj, whom they were able to overcome despite a 1-1 aggregate scoreline, courtesy of an away goal from Youssef En-Nesyri. However, in the next round, they outclassed AS Roma with ease, handing them a 2-0 defeat in a single-legged tie in Germany.
Wolves have a significant blow to deal with as Jonny Castro has been ruled out for the rest of the year with an ACL injury. They will also be without Daniel Podence, who has been in tremendous form since Project Restart, but was booked against Olympiacos and therefore is suspended.
Nuno Espirito Santo is expected to continue a 3-4-3 with Rui Patricio featuring in goal. Ahead of him, Conor Coady will keep his spot as the one outfield constant for Wolves in the heart of the defence. He will be marshaling the back three, with Willy Boly on his right and Romain Saiss on the left.
Ahead of them, Ruben Neves and Leander Dendonker are expected to assume responsibility as the double pivot that will screen the defence. Matt Doherty and Ruben Vinagre will be flanking the central midfield duo.
No surprises in the frontline – Raul Jimenez will start as the striker in a three-man attack and will be aided by a continent-favourite in Adama Traore on the right. In the absence of Daniel Podence, Diogo Jota is expected to take up the left flank.
There are no injuries that concern Julen Lopetegui ahead of this vital fixture. In fact, Tomas Vaclik has returned from injury, which puts forth an intriguing proposition for the Spanish boss.
Youssef En-Nesyri will start as the sole striker in attack, looking to add to his ten goals in all competitions this season. He will be arched by Munir El Haddadi on the left and Lucas Ocampos on the right. This front-three has scored 26 goals amongst them this season.
A midfield of three will be deployed in the centre of the park, with Fernando taking rank as the screening midfielder. He is expected to be accompanied by Joan Jordan and Ever Banega. These two will be crucial in opening up Wolves’ defence through long balls – a skillset both of them are well equipped with.
Captain Jesus Navas and Sergio Reguilon will provide the width from the back. The latter was arguably the best player on the pitch against Roma, scoring an incredible solo goal and then keeping a clean sheet as well.
Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos will retain their positions in the heart of the defence. We expect Lopetegui to continue with Bono as his goalkeeper despite the return of Vaclik. The Moroccan has kept eight clean sheets in his last ten games, including five in the Europa League this season – joint second-highest.
Wolves and Sevilla are meeting for the very first time; Wolves have already overcome Spanish opposition this season with a 6-3 aggregate victory over Espanyol in the last 32. Sevilla have only lost one of their eight knockout-stage matches of major European competition against English opposition (P8 W5 D2 L1, including finals), losing 2-0 to Leicester City in the Champions League last 16 in 2016-17. Wolves have reached their first European quarter-final since the 1971-72 UEFA Cup – that season they defeated Juventus in the quarter-finals and Ferencváros in the semi-finals, but fell at the final hurdle to Tottenham Hotspur.
The other game on Tuesday
-Shakhtar Donetsk vs FC Basel @10pm
Monday’s Europa League Quarter final results
-Man United 1-0 FC Copenhagen (AET)
-Inter Milan 2-1 Bayer Leverkusen