The above graphic shows Sevilla’s league results so far this year. Don’t focus too much on the specifics, just zoom out and notice the slow transition from lots of red and yellow on the left to mostly greens and yellows on the right. Also note this doesn’t include Sevilla’s recent Copa del Rey exploits, which would show that Sevilla has won five straight victories, a stretch that has included four shutouts. Not bad for a team that went winless in the first five matches of the season. So things are looking up! Hooray!
But this weekend sees a considerable challenge to the streak, and to the eyeballs of anyone who enjoys watching attacking soccer, or just enjoys seeing anything happen on a soccer field. That’s right, Sevilla is traveling to boring, defensive, negative, financially cheating, top-of-the-table Atletico. Yuck. Commenter ShendM pointed out this week that Sevilla hasn’t beaten Atletico since 2011. That is terrible. I’m not even sure we can call this a rivalry at this point! They’re just a team that I hate that always beats us.
Hopeful, positive data points? Sure, I’ve got some of those. For starters, there’s the previously mentioned good form Sevilla’s been enjoying. And there’s the current situation for both teams: Sevilla and Atleti both played mid-week Copa games, but Sevilla’s was a relatively comfortable 2–0 victory that saw Banega resting for the first 60’ whereas Atleti ground out a 0–0 draw (I assume this is their favorite scoreline, based on how they play) at Celta with most of their best players playing most of the game. This should mean that Atleti will have one eye on their return leg while Sevilla has all their attention on the task at hand. Also, you know, Gameiro’s scoring form lately has put him above Bacca’s goals/minute rate from last year. So that’s good.
On the other hand, though: they’re having a great year, we haven’t beaten them in 5 years, and furthermore have NEVER beaten them with Simeone at the helm. I guess you tell me how all that math works out. Or meet here tomorrow and we’ll see for ourselves!
Until then, VAMOOOOOOOOS