Move over Eriksen: Ten Hag must unleash Man Utd’s 5 ft 10 “machine” against Sevilla

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Manchester United’s relentless April schedule continues this evening when the Red Devils host Sevilla in the Europa League. The Red Devils are hoping for vengeance after Sevilla eliminated them from the same competition in the last four in 2020.

Manager Erik ten Hag has received conflicting team news ahead of this quarterfinal, first-leg match at Old Trafford, with injuries keeping both Marcus Rashford and Scott McTominay out of the lineup in addition to Luke Shaw and Alejandro Garnacho.

Positively, the Dutchman will also be able to use Casemiro, a key Brazilian player who has been missing recently after serving a four-game domestic suspension. Christian Eriksen, another midfielder, is also a candidate to start after making his long-awaited comeback against Everton at the weekend.

The return of the summer signing for United, who have been without the Danish playmaker since January, will be a huge boost as the team prepares for the playoffs. The 31-year-old has contributed with two goals and nine assists in 32 games across all competitions this season.

While there may be a desire to see the former Brentford and Tottenham Hotspur player return to the starting lineup, it may not be wise to insert the seasoned ace too soon. Additionally, the presence of loan signing Marcel Sabitzer has made a starting position for Eriksen less of a formality.

Will Sabitzer face Sevilla at the start?
With reports that “talks” regarding a long-term stay at the club may be in progress, it does seem as though the on-loan Bayern Munich player is really starting to settle in his temporary home. It also appears as though the 29-year-old is doing everything in his power to secure a permanent deal at Old Trafford.

Prior to the international break, the 69-cap menace scored his first goal for the Red Devils in Fulham’s FA Cup victory. Since returning to club duty, the threat has maintained that momentum, most notably by providing talisman Rashford with a deft, headed assist in last week’s 1-0 victory over the Bees.

The former RB Leipzig star shone in his role as a creative midfielder, despite the fact that he was unable to add to his total of goals assisted against the Toffees the previous time around. According to journalist Rob Blanchette, the star was somewhat of a “pressing machine” in that position.

The onus was on Sabitzer to lead the midfield charge alongside lone striker Rashford as Bruno Fernandes moved into a deep-lying position. The winter addition more than delivered, having “thrived in an advanced role once again,” according to Manchester Evening News journalist Samuel Luckhurst.

The 5 foot 10 man’s most notable contribution came in the second half when he set up midfield partner Fernandes with a lovely, dinked pass. Luckhurst also noted that the former Rapid Wien star was a genuine “goal threat.”

According to 90 Minutes’ Graeme Bailey, the all-action star “worked his socks off,” and it appears that his high-energy and aggressive style has given Ten Hag’s team new life after a period of sluggish play either side of the international break.

It might not be a good idea to upset Sabitzer and Fernandes’ partnership later today because, according to Blanchette, they are “increasingly comfortable” together.

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