With the first leg of the Europa League semi-final coming up on Thursday, Manchester United will take a short trip to Spain to face La Liga side Celta Vigo and will hope to bring a couple of away goals back to Old Trafford.
Jose Mourinho and his men will be looking to dominate the tie in the first leg, given they still have to play the likes of Arsenal, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur away from home within the Premier League.
Here are the three Celta Vigo players that could give the Red Devils a tough time at the Estadio Municipal de Balaidos…
Known as one of the most consistent full-backs within Spain, Jonny is impressively effective on both areas of the pitch as he tends to put in a superb shift for Celta Vigo week after week. He was rested as Celta were thrashed by Athletic Club, manager Eduardo Berizzo had to complete this action in order to make sure that the 23-year-old is fully fit ahead of the tie against Manchester United.
The Spaniard is a rising favourite around the Celta Vigo fan-base given that he was graduated from the youth academy and he has already managed over 150 appearances for the main squad. Only centre-backs Facundo Roncaglia (74) and Hugo Mallo (61) have completed more interceptions than Jonny (57) for Celta this campaign. He is the side’s regular starter in the left-back position but can also be utilised as a right-back if needed.
Playing at the heart of midfield as a box to box midfielder, Pablo Hernandez carries out his duties silently and effectively. Being mentioned as a dominant individual in the air and a no-nonsense player, the Chilean international is not afraid of going into hard tackles as well as taking the yellow card for the team. Since joining the club in the summer of the 2014, Hernandez has more or less been one of the few players that is always inside the starting line-up.
Standing at six foot one tall, he could possibly be up in a battle with attacking midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan, who has already scored five goals in his last eight Europa League appearances. With this duel potentially playing a key role towards the outcome of the first leg, Hernandez will certainly have to make sure that he is clinical with his tackles and interceptions.
As a lot of Manchester United fans will know following the semi-final draw of the Europa League, they will be going up against former Liverpool striker and Celta Vigo’s top goal-scorer in the league, Iago Aspas. After his time in the Premier League came to a quick ending as he struggled to make an instant impact inside English football, the Spanish hitman will be looking to prove a point in a fixture that is very important for him and his team-mates.
Currently on 17 goals and three assists in 29 La Liga appearances, Aspas will make sure that the Red Devil’s defence feels his presence within the final third of the pitch. With Celta Vigo being known to be a side that press a lot under Berizzo, the 29-year-old’s display on and off the ball could result in whether his side pick up the victory in the first leg or not.