This game makes me very nervous.
It shouldn’t right? We’re finally showing some better and more consistent form. And we’re playing Almeria, a team in the relegation zone of the table.
But I’m nervous. This is a classic trap game. There has been so much excitement and focus on the upcoming derby matches with Betis for the midweek Europa game, I hope the players haven’t lost focused on the critical importance of continuing to play well in La Liga, to make sure we get an opportunity to play in European competitions next year.
In addition, Almeria, while having a poor season, have a reasonably good defense when they play at home conceding 15 goals in 12 games. Prior to a recent 4-1 defeat by Barcelona (though I actually watched some of that game and they were playing Barcelona tough until the end where Barca padded their lead with a few goals) they hadn’t let up more than a single goal for six straight matches. In addition, they have the recent memory of shocking the league when they beat Atletico 2-0 on Feb. 6th. And finally, they know the clock is ticking and they need to get out of the relegation zone.
On our end, of course it doesn’t help that Fazio, Pareja, and Moreno will all be absent, forcing us to play an unusual defense, possibly with Diogo on the left. So even our defense will look a little odd and might be a little shakey.
Anyway, enough dooma and gloom. These are three points that should be ours. Whether we end up actually taking them, will depend on Emery and the men he sends out on the pitch.