Manchester United are set for the final preseason match before turning their attention to the new campaign. The Red Devils will face off with La Liga side Sevilla in a testimonial match for longtime defender Rio Ferdinand.
The celebration of Ferdinand's time with the storied Premier League club comes two days before United battle Wigan Athletic for the FA Community Shield. The EPL campaign gets started six days later and expectations are once again high at Old Trafford.
Sevilla have already started competitive action by facing off with Mladost Podgorica in Europa League qualifying. Reverting back to the less intense preseason style of play before getting back in form to start the La Liga campaign will be a tricky test for the Sevillistas.
Here's a look at all the important information for the showcase match, followed by a preview and prediction. Of course, the result won't matter as much as the spotlight moment for Ferdinand.
Where: Old Trafford in Greater Manchester, England
When: Friday, Aug. 9 at 2:30 p.m. ET (7:30 p.m. BST)
Live Stream: RioTestimonial.com
Ferdinand joined United in 2002 and has been a stalwart member of the squad ever since. A reliable center back who's helped lead the club to six Premier League titles, he's certainly earned the right to get recognized by the club and its supporters.
The defender told the Red Devils' official site that he hopes it's a memorable night for everybody.
This is going to be a big night for me as well as an emotional one. I cannot believe where those 10 years have gone and I am lucky to have spent them here at Manchester United.
This club is unique in every way, the history and drive of the place is unbelievable, it spurs everyone to succeed. The fans are the best in the world, their commitment is amazing and I have appreciated their support throughout my career.
I hope they enjoy the night as much as I intend to.
The match should be an enjoyable occasion for United before the long campaign. Pressure will then begin to mount, starting with the Community Shield clash as the club looks to add to its trophy cabinet.
As for the match itself, don't expect a brilliant technical display from either side. Both clubs are already thinking about the challenges that lie ahead and neither manger is going to overextend any of their players for a late friendly.
David Moyes in particular will have to make some decisions about his plan of attack. Since the club has a short turnaround before its first high-profile match of the new campaign, he will probably be liberal with his substitutions.
Furthermore, players dealing with any type of lingering injury concerns probably won't see much of the pitch. It's a big night for Ferdinand, but he also knows there's plenty of matches ahead and United need a healthy squad to have a successful season.
The outlook is much the same for Sevilla manager Unai Emery. Although expectations aren't as high for his squad, they are already in regular-season mode and he'll want to make sure they don't fall back into any bad preseason habits before starting La Liga play.
In other words, expect a light atmosphere throughout the match as both sides work on building chemistry and avoiding injury. And perhaps there will be a few highlight-reel plays thanks to the lack of defensive pressure.
As they have so often during Ferdinand's tenure, look for United to pick up the victory and head into the Community Shield on a high note.
Prediction: Manchester United 2, Sevilla 0
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