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What to expect from Sevilla vs Real Madrid

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Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

After a gruelling UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie against Chelsea, Real Madrid get ready for another difficult game this weekend as they take on Sevilla in La Liga.

The Merengues were pushed to the brink by Chelsea in the midweek European encounter and needed extra time to secure safe passage through to the semi-finals, although they did lose on the night and managed to progress based on the aggregate scoreline.

A trip to Seville is never an easy proposition for any team. And, things will only get more difficult for Carlo Ancelotti & co. after their midweek exertions.

Julen Lopetegui’s side are the most resilient defensive unit in Spain, having conceded just 22 goals in 31 La Liga games this term – the best record by any team in the competition.

At one point, Los Nervionenses had emerged as a strong challenger for Real Madrid in the title race, although their bid for the La Liga crown has somewhat faded of late in light of a series of drawn games.

But with seven games left to be played and 12 points separating them from the Merengues, Lopetegui’s side are still within a mathematical chance of winning the title. Considering how the ex-Real Madrid boss has built his team, Sevilla will go down fighting until the last minute.

For Ancelotti and his troops, the situation is pretty much straightforward – do not slip up in the next few league games and the La Liga title is theirs. However, that will be easier said than done.

Sevilla had given Real Madrid a tough fight in the reverse fixture, which Los Blancos won courtesy of a late moment of brilliance from Vinicius Junior. And things will be anything but easier at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Sunday night.

As iterated earlier, the Andalusians have forged an identity for themselves as a robust and disciplined unit that can be hard to break down. Their plan will be to keep the in-form Karim Benzema isolated at the top by cutting out all the passing avenues leading to him.

The veteran striker’s battle against Jules Kounde, a target for Real Madrid, will be one to watch out for. At the same time, how Vinicius Junior fares against the wily Jesus Navas could also be a major deciding factor.

Goals have been an issue for Sevilla of late. But they will fancy their chances against Real Madrid after Chelsea showed that they can be opened up.

The left-back, in particular, could be targeted, with Ferland Mendy and Marcelo both injured. With the dangerous Lucas Ocampos available at Lopetegui’s disposal, the ex-Real Madrid boss could instruct the Argentine to take on Nacho, who might struggle to match his pace.

All factors considered, it could be a tightly-contested fixture, especially factoring in the fatigue after Real Madrid’s 120-minute excursion against Chelsea. A victory, though, would take Ancelotti and his troops another step closer to the La Liga crown.

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MU Shorts

Best starting XI from the Champions League quarter-finals, four Real Madrid players included

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

The UEFA Champions League quarterfinals were thrilling this season. Real Madrid showcased their dominance with an impressive victory over Manchester City, proving their status as a top contender in this competition. 

Bayern Munich’s experienced team taught Arsenal a tough lesson in play, while PSG observed Barcelona’s collapse in their own backyard. 

Meanwhile, Borussia Dortmund battled hard against Atletico Madrid to secure their spot in the next round. 

Now that we have our final four teams, it is time to take a look at the best XI that featured during the final eight.

Goalkeeper – Andriy Lunin

While Manchester City were better on paper, they could not do much to breach Real Madrid keeper Andriy Lunin. The Ukrainian made clutch saves and even denied Bernardo Silva and Mateo Kovacic during the all-important shootout.

Andriy Lunin saved two penalties against Manchester City. (Photo by DARREN STAPLES/AFP via Getty Images)

Right-back – Joshua Kimmich

The Bayern Munich right-back was key to their success against Arsenal, especially in the second leg where his goal decided the fate of the teams. Overall, he locked down Arsenal’s left flank with relative ease and his move back to defence proved to be a masterstroke.

Centre-backs – Eric Dier and Antonio Rudiger

The 30-year-old Bayern Munich defender won four tackles, three interceptions and two aerial duals against Arsenal in the second leg alone, which warrants him a place in this setup.

Secondly, Antonio Rudiger was simply unplayable for a certain Erling Haaland across both legs. Although a substandard clearance allowed Man City to equalize in the second leg, his overall performance was excellent.

Left-back – Josko Gvardiol

Gvardiol made a notable impact in the first leg against Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabeu, scoring his first goal for Manchester City in style. Between the two legs, he had five tackles, four interceptions, three clearances, and three key passes to his name.

Right midfielder – Federico Valverde

Real Madrid midfielder Federico Valverde never missed an ounce of energy across the two legs. After having scored the equalizing goal in the first leg, his tireless strides at the Etihad were key to Madrid’s qualification.

Federico Valverde was key to Real Madrid’s success. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Defensive midfielder – Rodri

The Man City midfielder won five tackles between the two legs against Manchester City and was arguably their best player on the field across the two matches.

Left midfielder – Vitinha

Vitinha’s performance in the matches against Barcelona over the last two weeks has impressed many observers. The 24-year-old scored in both games and had a strong impact on the field with five shots, five key passes, and two successful dribbles.

Right winger – Ousmane Dembele

Before facing Barcelona last week, Ousmane Dembele had only scored one goal for his new club.

However, in the two games against his former team, he scored a goal in each match. Additionally, he made a significant impact with four key passes and five successful dribbles.

Centre-forward – Rodrygo

The Real Madrid frontman has always been Manchester City’s doom and even this season, he scored two goals across both legs, deserving a place in this XI.

Rodrygo scored in both games vs Man City. (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)

Left winger – Raphinha

Raphinha put in a strong performance in both matches against PSG, trying to lead his team to the semi-finals.

Although his efforts were admirable, they weren’t enough to secure victory. In the first leg at the Parc des Princes, he scored twice. In the return match in Spain, he opened the scoring. 

Over the course of both games, Raphinha took eight shots, made four key passes, and completed three successful dribbles.

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