After three fairly weak opponents gave us time to get adjusted to life in the ‘new normal’, things get serious with Sevilla coming to face our cardboard cutouts in the stands and our defenders- some of who are only slightly more mobile than that. A win would put us in great shape for the upcoming derbi while dropping points could make the race for Europe really dicey.
Managed by former Spain and Real Madrid boss Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla’s basic gameplan isn’t a secret. They want to possess the ball, pass it sideways a lot, and pass it into the net. When it works, it’s aesthetically pleasing and hearkens back to the 2008-2012 Spanish football. When it doesn’t, well, it’s boring. Very boring.
Last time we played Sevilla, we won 2-1 on a Karl Toko Ekambi winner in a match Santi Cazorla did not feature in.
The rotational merry-go-round will continue, and it’s hard to predict who will get what minutes. The good news is that after this match we do get a proper week of rest and preparation before Valencia on Sunday, so we might see guys pushed to the limit on minutes in this one knowing they will get some time off afterward.
Pau should be back, which eases my mind in defense, and to be brutally honest Paco hasn’t shown me any form recently that demands he play so I wouldn’t be stunned if he started out on the bench. Gerard, Alberto, and Trigueros are all one yellow away from suspension. I’m kind of assuming Alberto picks up a yellow if he plays but of the three he’s the one I least want in the derbi anyway.
I think the results have been better than the performances since we got back, and while Sevilla has lacked offensive punch in their last couple of matches they have been very well organized defensively. I think this one ends 0-0.