This is mainly Ravi's work, but due to the problems with the site he sent it to me to post....
Sevilla come to town in a bit of turmoil after they got eliminated from the Cup at home by 2nd B Racing Santander. They will also miss a couple key players, the impressive Spanish international left-back Alberto Moreno due to injury and Stephane Mbia, the Cameroonian hardman, who has been one of Sevilla's key cogs defensively.
Sevilla will also miss their right-back Diogo Figueiras who was sent-off in the Cup game, made various references to the referee's parentage.... and was banned for 4 games. He's been told to serve the punishment in La Liga, and Sevilla's appeal has been rejected.
However they will still feature Ivan Rakitic. The Croatian is one of the best players in La Liga outside of Real Madrid and Barcelona and they also boast the impressive Colombian striker Carlos Bacca, Jose Antonio Reyes, and Diego Perotti among others.
You may remember Vitolo from Las Palmas last year--he's been very impressive in his first year in La Liga--and French striker Kevin Gamiero was linked with us a couple of years ago, then was going to sign with Valencia, then changed his mind at the last minute and stayed in France. Sevilla picked him up this summer with part of the money they got from selling Negredo, Medel and Navas.
Unai Emery is no stranger to El Madrigal having been a successful coach with Valencia for years. However, his Sevilla has little in common with his Valencia and this Villarreal has little in common with those teams Emery faced in the past.
Sevilla's attack is built around quick transitions and counterattacks. The unavailability of Alberto Moreno hurts them a bit in this aspect. The two most important players to watch out are Bacca and Rakitic. Bruno and Pina/Trigueros will have their hands full with the latter.
Gabriel and Musacchio should be able to deal with Bacca but the key is to keep it simple and not try to get too fancy at the back. Remember - a throw-in is less dangerous than mis-passing the ball to one of their players in the attacking half.
As Sid mentioned in the podcast, both Emery and Marcelino are known to pay huge attention to tactics and game plan preparation, the game could be extra fascinating from that perspective.
Stats & form
Sevilla comes into this match having won two consecutive away games at Espanyol and Granada. Prior to those they've had a one year winless streak in away games. They've had a poor start to the season but have recovered since then.
- Sevilla take a lot of shots. 3rd in the League behind Real Madrid and Barcelona. However we edge them slightly on shots on target. I'm guessing they take a lot of outside and low percentage shots.
- They have scored 9 goals from set-pieces. This is something we need to avoid as I believe we can control them in the open-play at home.
- One of the worst disciplinary team. 53 yellows and 2 reds. 55 cards is tops in the league
- Strong in the air compared to us, although without Mbia, they will miss some of that.
- Defensively, they concede a lot of shots. 5th most in the league (Villarreal is 18th, or 3rd fewest)
Squads and Likely XIs
Villarreal Squad: Cani is out of the squad for this match, but Asenjo is available. Keeping Cani out of this is probably the right move, knowing that we have a block of 5 games in 2 weeks right after the break.
Asenjo, Juan Carlos, Mario, Jaume Costa, Jokic, Dorado, Musacchio y
Gabriel, Bruno, Pina, Trigueros, Moi Gómez, Aquino, Hernán Pérez,
Giovani, Uche, Perbet and Jonathan Pereira.
Sevilla Squad - not out yet
Villarreal Likely XI - 4-4-2
Asenjo;Mario-Musachhio-Gabriel-Costa; Hernan-Bruno-Trigueros-Moi; Gio-Uche
Sevilla Likely XI - 4-2-3-1
Beto; Coke-Fazio-Cala-Navarro; Iborra-Rakitic; Perotti-Reyes-Vitolo;Bacca
Predictions: We're still trying to post the podcast we recorded last night, but Ravi and Sid predicted a Villarreal win, Allen a 2-2 draw (yet again, whoscored.com has predicted the same as Allen, I just found out)
We are winless in our last 3 home-games. This is our chance to finish an eventful and positive 2013 in style. Sevilla is coming in with 1 less day of rest, a lot of missing players in their defence and huge disappointment from their Cup exit. They can score goals with the amount of talent they have in their squad but we need to take our chances
and put this game away quickly.
This is a big opportunity for us to put some space between us and the clubs in 6-9th places, including Sevilla.
Marcelino is 21-10-6 (W-D-L) in 37 games in 2nda and La Liga this
year. That is 73 points. I hope we can keep up the pace! Endavant Villarreal!