30.09.2015 11:00 - in: Champions League S

    Three key men for Sevilla

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    As the Bianconeri prepare to take on a side boasting notable pedigree in European competition, Juventus.com takes a look at three of the Blanquirrojos’ star performers this year

    After winning four Europa League trophies in the last ten seasons, Sevilla are a proven force in UEFA competitions.

    Unai Emery has bolstered the side in the summer, most notably up front, where Fernando Llorente and Ciro Immobile have replaced Carlos Bacca, while attacking midfielder Michael Krohn-Dehli has arrived from Celta Vigo.

    Meanwhile, many of the experienced heads who formed a key part of last year’s successes have stayed at the Estadio Roman Sanchez Pizjuan, including captain José Antonio Reyes, midfielders Grzegorz Krychowiak and Ever Banega and full-backs Coke and Benoit Tremoulinas.

    Juventus.com takes a close look at three of the players to keep a close look out for in Wednesday evening’s Champions League Group D encounter in Turin.

    Yevhen Konoplyanka, 26, Winger

    Sevilla’s summer signing offers explosive pace down the flanks, an eye for key contributions in the final third, while also boasting a wealth of experience on the European and international stages. Yevhen Konoplyanka’s last match for former club Dnipro came against his current side in the Europa League final and, despite losing 3-2 to Unai Emery’s men, the team’s achievement to reach their first ever UEFA competition final still represents an impressive feat. Meanwhile, the winger’s performances saw him included in the tournament’s squad of the season for a second time in three years.

    Since making his debut for the Ukrainian outfit in 2007, Konoplyanka has gone on from strength to strength, scoring 45 goals and providing 37 assists in 210 appearances, helping Dnipro finish as runners-up in 2013/14’s Premier Liga. And the 26-year-old has been in fine form during his first seven matches for Sevilla, netting three times, including once in the Spaniards’ opening Group D win over Borussia Monchengladbach. A three-time winner of his country’s Footballer of the Year award, Konoplyanka is also a key player for his national side with 11 strikes in 47 caps.

    Steven N’Zonzi, 26, Midfielder

    Two goals in five matches are Steven N’Zonzi’s statistics so far in his maiden campaign for the Blanquirrojos – particularly impressive for a player who has been deployed in his preferred holding midfield role since joining from Stoke City in the summer. The 26-year-old netted in Sevilla’s first win of their domestic season against Rayo Vallecano last weekend following his strike in a 1-1 draw with Levante on the second La Liga matchday of 2015/16.

    A proven threat in the final third this campaign, N’Zonzi also offers strength and height in the middle of the park and good protection to his defence. Standing 1,96 metres tall, the Frenchman is adept at winning his aerial battles, while he is also clever with his distribution, often playing the simpler, shorter balls with accuracy to keep hold of possession in tight areas of the pitch. Somewhat an unsung hero during his six seasons in the Premier League, he formed a vital cog at previous clubs Blackburn Rovers and Stoke.

    Kevin Gameiro, 28, Forward

    Kevin Gameiro continued his impressive form in UEFA competitions two weeks ago when he netted the opener and set up the second of Sevilla’s 3-0 win over Borussia Monchengladbach. This all followed on from his heroics of scoring on ten occasions for Unai Emery’s men in their last two victorious Europa League campaigns, statistics that have helped to secure his starting berth in a forward line that has been bolstered in the summer by the arrivals of Fernando Llorente and Ciro Immobile.

    The France international has been an all-round success since arriving in southern Spain in 2013, notching almost a goal every two games (41 in 101 appearances), representing the second most prolific spell of his career after the three fine years in Ligue 1 with Lorient that saw him find the target 56 times in 120 matches, providing 23 assists in the process. Despite enduring a less fruitful period with Paris Saint-Germain between 2011 and 2013, the 28-year-old still managed to score at a rate of one in three and he’ll be looking to continue his upturn in fortunes with the Blanquirrojos this term.

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