Europa League

The Battle Of The Defences

Tonight, Wolves will face Sevilla in Germany. Both sides will be looking for a place in the semi finals of the Europa League, where the winners will face Manchester United.

This competition represents the only chance that Wolves will be able to qualify for Europe next season as they finished 7th and because Arsenal won the FA Cup, it meant they did not qualify for next season’s Europa League.

However, winning the Europa League this season would mean Wolves would play in Europe’s’ top competition for the first time since 1960. If Wolves were to beat Sevilla, it would be the first time since 1972 that they would play in a European semi-final. In that season’s UEFA Cup, they went all the way to the final, where they lost to Tottenham Hotspur. They lost the final 3-2 on aggregate. They lost the first leg at Molineux 2-1 with Martin Chivers getting both goals for Tottenham and at White Hart Lane, they could only manage a 1-1 draw.

This season, they have been excellent in Europe as they have played 16 games and have only lost two of them. They lost 1-0 to Braga in the group stage and they lost 3-2 in their second leg of their round of 32 game against Espanyol, which Wolves won 6-3 on aggregate. For Wolves, their European campaign started on the 25th July 2019, when they face Crusaders in the 2nd qualifying round of the competition. They have also been a side that have been free scoring in Europe as they have scored 38 goals this season in the Europa League and they have only conceded 12 goals in Europe. They are in decent form as well. When the league returned in June, they won 5 of their 9 remaining games, drawing 1 and losing 3. They missed out on Europe on the last day of the season, when they lost 2-0 to Chelsea.

They do boast a good defence as they had the 5th best defence in the Premier League, with only the top 3 and Sheffield United having conceded less than Nuno’s side. If Wolves are to win, they will be looking to their Mexican striker Raul Jimenez to get their goals, with the forward scoring 17 of their 51 Premier League goals this season. However, in the Europa League it has been Diogo Jota who has scored the most Wolves goals since the Group Stage began. The Portuguese player has 6 goals in the competition this season. Another player that will be important will be Adama Traore, who has had a phenomenal season, he has managed to assist 9 goals in the Premier League this season.

Sevilla have already qualified for next seasons Champions League because they finished 4th in La Liga. Sevilla only lost one game in this seasons Europa League. They lost their last group game away to APOEL. They won all their other group games and in the Round of 32 they drew away to CFR Cluj 1-1 in the first leg and a goalless draw at home in the second leg saw them through to set up the tie with Roma. They managed to beat Roma last week 2-0, with goals coming from Reguilon and El Nesyri.

In La Liga, Sevilla have been brilliant, they have not lost a game domestically since the 9th February away to Celta Vigo. They did not lose in their last 15 league games and when they returned from the break in June, they drew 5 of their final 11 games and won the other 6 including a 2-0 derby win in the Seville derby against Real Betis.

For Sevilla, their top scorer in the Europa League is Munir El Haddadi, however he only started on the bench in last weeks last 16 game against Roma. Sevilla are a difficult team to score against as they were La Liga’s third best defence, with only Atlético Madrid and Real Madrid conceding less goals. They also have only conceded 4 goals in the 9 Europa League games they have played this season. In La Liga, Ocampos and El Nesyri scored 22 goals this season, with Ocampos scoring 14 and El Nesyri contributing 8 goals.

Sevilla are also the most successful team in Europe’s’ second tier competition. They have won the competition 5 times, twice in 2006 and 2007 when it was called the UEFA cup and they won it three times in a row in 2014, 2015 and 2016.

Wolves will be without Jonny for the game and Daniel Podence will be suspended for the game. Sevilla will be without Gudelj, who tested positive for Covid-19 last month so will miss the tie.

The winner will move into the semi-final, which will be played Sunday against Manchester United.

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