A battered Villarreal take on a tired Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán tomorrow (kickoff is 4AM on the West Coast of the US). The home side played in Germany on Wednesday, and are now out of the Champions League at the quarterfinal stage, but acquitted themselves well.
The Yellow Submarine, meanwhile, is reeling after consecutive losses to Malaga and Athletic Club, a gastrointestinal bug hit the team, Pablo Fornals fainted on the pitch and broke his hand in the process, Daniele Bonera injured a muscle, and Álvaro picked up a needless red card for dissent and is now out. I think that’s it.
Neither fanbase is really happy at the moment. Vicenso Montella’s Sevilla hasn’t won in the league for a month—though being ahead against Barcelona by two goals with two minutes to play and then ending up with a draw, well....
Like Villarreal, Sevilla have played well against the better sides, mostly, but have found ways to lose to teams they are clearly superior to on paper. And the story in Andalusía right now isn’t Sevilla, but Real Betis, who after defeating Girona today are guaranteed to finish the weekend in fifth.
All-time record: Basically, when it comes to playing at this ground, we suck. Villarreal are 2-2-11, with our last win here, amazingly enough, coming in February 2012 courtesy of a Camuñas goal; that was the match that got Marcelino fired as Sevilla’s coach!
We dominated Sevilla earlier this year at home, were 2-0 up on 53 minutes, and by 57 minutes it was 2-2. Then Victor Ruiz was sent off and Ever Banega converted a penalty. Seems to happen a lot these days (the sending off and penalty, I mean).
Prediction: Even with Sevilla not at their best it would be crazy to expect Villarreal to get a result here. Not only do we struggle here historically, we’re going to have to field an experimental back four, we are missing Fornals (one of our better creators in midfield) and virtually no one is in form at the moment, apart from Sergio Asenjo, who has kept scores down, and Enes Ünal, who runs diligently and tries but is too often starved of service.
So....Sevilla 3-1 Villarreal. We may even score first, but Sevilla are great at coming back from being behind, and probably Ben Yedder comes off the bench for a goal, and the third one comes late.
But I’ll hope for better things. Endavant!!!!