Sevilla and Roma meet for the first time on Thursday as both clubs look to navigate past the Europa League last-16.
Three-time winners Sevilla enter this first leg at the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan in excellent form, having recently taken a point off Atletico Madrid to tighten their grip on third in La Liga, while further consolidating a Champions League place.
The visitors travel to Andalusia amid turmoil in Italy as Serie A has recently been suspended until April 3 because of coronavirus, but Paulo Fonseca will be doing his best to put domestic affairs to one side and concentrate on tackling a tricky tie.
Read on for Sevilla vs Roma predictions, team news, TV coverage information and more.
When is Sevilla vs Roma and where can I watch live?
Competition: Europa League
Venue: Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan
Date: Thursday, 12 March 2020
Kick-off: 5:55 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): BT Sport ESPN
Online & live stream options: UK audiences with a BT Sport subscription can watch online or live stream through their app.
Ones to watch
Sevilla: Joan Jordan
It will come as no surprise that Sevilla’s impressive form this season has coincided with the return of transfer guru Monchi, who rejoined the club last March after a relatively unsuccessful stint as director of football with Thursday’s opponents, Roma. The former goalkeeper worked his usual magic last summer and Sevilla brought in no fewer than 14 new players, including midfield dynamo Joan Jordan.
The £13.5m signing from Eibar has been one of Julen Lopetegui’s most influential players in the middle of the park, combining a diverse passing range with slick movement and a penchant for getting forward. His central midfield partnership with stalwart Ever Banega will be key to relieving pressure against Roma and executing quick transitions up the pitch.
Key stat: Only Daniel Carrico (100) has completed more passes per 90 minutes than Joan Jordan (96.51) in the Europa League this season among Sevilla players.
Roma: Edin Dzeko
The former Manchester City striker is very much in the twilight years of his career but has been ageing like a fine wine in the Eternal City. Since leaving the Etihad for Roma, the 33-year-old has netted an impressive 102 goals in 211 games and is showing no signs of slowing down, with 15 to his name already this season.
He’ll turn 34 next week so what better way to celebrate his birthday early than by getting his name on the scoresheet and providing Roma with an invaluable away goal heading into the second leg.
Key stat: Edin Dzeko is Roma’s leading goalscorer in both Serie A (12) and the Europa League (three) this season.
The only main injury concern for Sevilla is that to ex-Man City midfielder Fernando, who is currently sidelined with an abductor injury. Lopetegui has been utilising Nemanja Gudelj in defensive midfield in place of Fernando, and he will likely stick with the Spaniard.
Predicted XI: Vaclik; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Reguilon; Gudelj, Jordan, Banega; Suso, Ocampos, De Jong.
Subscribe to Squawka’s Youtube channel here.
Fonseca has a number of injury issues to contend with, including Lorenzo Pellegrini, Javier Pastore, Nicolo Zaniolo and Davide Zappacosta. He will also be without Jordan Veretout due to suspension for yellow card accumulation.
Predicted XI: Lopez; Peres, Smalling, Fazio, Kolarov; Villar, Cristante; Mkhitaryan, Under, Kluivert; Dzeko.
On their day Roma are a formidable and frightening side, so expect a tight contest in Spain later this week. That considered, the hosts have made the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan something of a sanctuary this season, with Los Nervionenses suffering just two defeats on home turf, so we expect them to enter the second leg in the ascendency.