Manchester City vs Sevilla: Three key players to look out for

The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly influence the tie when Manchester City and Sevilla clash on Wednesday.

The 2023/24 season is underway, and August, as always, brings us the UEFA Super Cup. Piraeus will be the host of the meeting between the Champions League and Europa League winners as Sevilla and Manchester City lock horns at the Karaiskakis Stadium on Wednesday night.

Manchester City will go into the UEFA Super Cup clash on the back of winning the elusive UEFA Champions League. The Citizens finally broke their duck in Europe’s premier club competition. And the triumph in the competition last season also helped them become the second English club to complete the treble after Manchester United.

On the other hand, Sevilla will head into Wednesday’s clash after winning the UEFA Europa League. Europe’s second-tier competition has become a happy hunting tournament for the Andalusian club. And no one was surprised when Los Nervionenses won another final, this time beating Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma to the title.

The annual UEFA Super Cup often brings us breathtaking action. And while Manchester City and Sevilla are not evenly matched, the underdogs often spring a surprise. With that in mind, The Hard Tackle lists three players who can singlehandedly tip the scales in their team’s favour in Piraeus on Wednesday.

Ivan Rakitic

The midfield battle will go a long way in determining the game’s final outcome on Wednesday. And with Kevin De Bruyne unavailable for several months due to a long-term hamstring injury, Sevilla will have a chance to overpower Manchester City. So we cannot stress the importance of Ivan Rakitic enough.

The veteran Croatian midfielder has been a solid performer for Sevilla since rejoining them from Barcelona. And he has found a second wind after fans and pundits alike wrote him off following the end of his Barcelona stint.

A creative midfielder with a relentless work ethic, the 35-year-old tends to use all his experience to good effect. And Rakitic is renowned for saving his best for the biggest games, thus making him a player to watch heading into Wednesday’s UEFA Super Cup meeting with Manchester City. Expect a dominant display by the veteran.

Mateo Kovacic

Pep Guardiola would not have envisioned throwing his summer signings into the deep end so early into the season. And for a manager who often eases his new players into the thick of the action (unless your name is Erling Haaland), Kevin De Bruyne’s loss is forcing his hand.

With De Bruyne unavailable for the next four months, Guardiola’s midfield options have reduced. In addition, Bernardo Silva is a short-term absentee for Manchester City this Wednesday. So Mateo Kovacic becomes an automatic starter for the Champions League holders this midweek.

The Croatian international was one of the best debutants in Gameweek 1 of the Premier League this past weekend. And he will make his European bow for Manchester City on Wednesday, looking to dominate the midfield battle.

Kovacic tends to play on the front foot, which aligns with Guardiola’s thinking process. And the 29-year-old will be an ideal foil for Rodri, who has started the 2023/24 season strongly. A big game beckons the former Chelsea midfielder as he looks to stamp his authority at Manchester City.

Youssef En-Nesyri

Erling Haaland is always under the spotlight when he takes the pitch. Meanwhile, Julian Alvarez and Josko Gvardiol are also players worth mentioning as one of our picks. But we have gone ahead with Youssef En-Nesyri as the last candidate on our list today.

The Moroccan international is a man for the big occasions, as he has shown often for his club and country. He was a delightful performer for the Atlas Lions in the history-making FIFA World Cup 2022 campaign. And En-Nesyri has also been a consistent player for Sevilla in the last few years.

But Manchester City will present a challenge like no other this week. So the 26-year-old will have to play out of his skin to help Sevilla produce a shock result. And if En-Nesyri rises to the occasion for the umpteenth time, Los Nervionenses might spring a surprise, producing a rare Europa League upset in the UEFA Super Cup.

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