Juventus host Sevilla in the Europa League semi-finals on Thursday. Both sides dropped down the Champions League and will see this as a great chance of silverware, plus qualifying for Europe’s showpiece club tournament next season. The Old Lady last won a European title in 1996 whilst Sevilla have won six Europa Leagues, including as recently as 2020.
After a fine run from January that saw 11 wins in 13 matches across all competitions, Juve hit a bad run of form. These played eight matches in April with just one win, the first-leg victory against Sporting Lisbon in this competition. There were league losses at Lazio (2-1), Sassuolo (1-0), and at home to Napoli (0-1). The latter result came on the back of a 1-1 draw at Sporting CP to reach the semis.
A 1-0 loss to Inter Milan saw them knocked out in the Coppa Italia semi-finals. A 1-1 draw at Bologna followed in the league. They come into this one have perhaps turned a corner in May. A 2-1 home win against Lecce was followed by a 2-0 weekend win at Atalanta. They were outshot 24-10 and had just 41% possession.
Juventus Team News
Max Allegri has been rotating his side heavily this season. Gleison Bremer was given a full rest in Bergamo over the weekend but a knee problem means he remains a serious doubt. Dusan Vlahovic should return to the XI up front in preference to Arkadiusz Milik.
Young English wingback Samuel Iling-Junior scored against Atalanta but he could drop down to the bench. Filip Kostic should replace him at left wingback. Paul Pogba and Federico Chiese are both fit and featured from the bench in the last match. Both could again be amongst the subs for this one.
Juve have a five-point buffer in the race for a top-four finish in Serie A. They know that winning this trophy is another avenue to that goal. Max Allegri has been resting players ahead of European ties and is taking this match very seriously.
With pressure on the coach’s job, he may need this silverware to keep his position for next season. Juventus need to win this first leg but will play pragmatically in a 3-5-1-1 shape.
Sevilla are one of the more in-form teams in Europe right now. They sacked coach Jorge Sampaoli after round 26 with the side just two points above the drop zone. They’ve since completely turned things around under Jose Luis Mendilibar. They came from 2-0 down to draw at Old Trafford and then won the second leg 3-0 at home to reach the semis.
In La Liga, it’s five wins in seven since the new coach arrived. There were some big results in there including beating relegation rivals Valencia 2-0 away from home. A 2-1 home win against Villarreal preceded a 1-0 victory at Athletic Bilbao. After a surprise 2-0 home loss to Girona, they bounced back to beat Espanyol 3-2 at home. They now sit 11th in the league with a 10-point buffer to the relegation zone.
Sevilla Team News
Coach Mendilibar had been rotating in Europe to focus on keeping the club in the top flight. They’ve since saved themselves so the best XI will be seen in this match. In goal, Yassine Bounou is the Europa League goalkeeper even though Marko Dmitrovic is the number one in La Liga.
Suso is ruled out for this match due to injury and so is defender Tanguy Nianzou. Lucas Ocampos and Erik Lamela are fit after knocks and one could replace Susoo. Fernando is also available again and could push to start in midfield with Ivan Rakitic possibly playing further forward.
Sevilla have no relegation to worry about and will want to lift this trophy, not least to qualify for next season’s UEFA Champions League.
Coach Mendilibar has tended to select four attacking players in a 4-2-3-1 and his side won’t park the bus in Turin. A draw would be a good result, knowing the vocal support they can count on in the return leg.
Juventus have scored 1 goal in each of their 3 home Europa League matches this season
Juve has lost once in 11 home matches (all competitions)
Sevilla have lost to nil in 4 of their last 5 away matches in the Europa League
Sevilla have won their last 3 away matches in La Liga without conceding
This should be a close first leg. Juve are hardly free-scoring of late and certainly not at home in this competition. Sevilla are playing really well under their new coach and confidence is high. I can see this ending in a draw.
Best Bet: Juventus Win/Draw double chance + Over 1.5 goals at 1.68
Alternative Bet: Sevilla to qualify over two legs at 2.20
Value Bet: Draw at 3.50
Anytime Goalscorer: Dusan Vlahovic at 2.50