Our heroes from Andalucia travel to Cataluña this weekend to play the Blaugrana Moneybags. It will of course be a highly tactical match, so here’s a quick look at some of the key matchups and tactics sure to be on display.
(Original image via)
The image above is a screen grab from the Atletico match, but of course Barcelona’s approach is unchanging, and it seems likely that Sevilla will play with roughly the same shape as Atleti (with some changes, which I’ll get to later), so for our purposes this image serves to demonstrate some important issues. As you can see, $$$ and $$$$ are interacting along the right flank of the pitch, and $$$ is moving out wide to create space for $$$$ to move into along the center of the pitch. Look for the interplay between $$$ and $$$$ to be absolutely crucial for Barca’s success in dominating possession as they usually do. Accordingly, ¢ and ¢¢ will certainly have their hands full all evening; look for ¢ and $ to drop deep from the midfield to support the back four when Sevilla is defending. Sevilla will of course look to use the speed of $ on the counter whenever possible, but Barca will certainly be on the lookout for that, marshaling $$ and $$$ to protect the rear guard from a very high line. In many ways, though, Barca’s attack down the right will be the key for this match, so the crucial question will be if Sevilla’s left defense can handle Barca’s arsenal on that side of the pitch. Is Sevilla up to the challenge? Is $$$ + $$$ + $$$$ < ¢ + ¢ + ¢¢?!? TUNE IN THIS WEEKEND TO SEE THE THRILLING SOLUTION TO THIS EQUATION!!!
Sevilla’s injury count (and the unfortunate failure to have signed $$$ or $$$$ to sit on the bench and occasionally sub in) will leave them weak on their left flank (where $$$$ will look to storm forward for Barca) and up top, where $$ will unfortunately not be fit, and will likely be replaced by _, leaving open the possible tactical novelty that instead of a false 9 playing “in the hole”, Sevilla will start the game on Saturday with a literal hole in their roster. (Insert GDS rant…here).
Barca, meanwhile, is dealing with the injuries of $$$ and $$$$, but can fall back on $$$ and $$$$ in their absence, which is a relief because no good team should ever be derailed by injuries, ever, obviously. There is also the possibility that Barca will be completely exhausted from the little jog-out of a mid-week CL game, although from what I saw it seems unlikely that any muscle other than the “heel flick muscle” was particularly overworked; probably Barca will be fresh and very well-rested. They may, however, be weary from laboring under intense expectations; Iniesta lamented to the press this week that everyone keeps expecting 4-0 wins over the nobodies they keep having to play. Sounds tough; I sincerely hope the club signs a super expensive therapist to help ease this burden.
In off-field sword-rattling news, if you haven’t been following the “Orgullosos de Andalucía” kerfuffle, you’ve missed out on…well, basically nothing, really. In short, some elected official from Cataluña, in that strange combination of chulería and señorio previously only achieved by folks in Madrid, made fun of the accent of Andalucíans and Sevillanos in particular. The video-making department of Sevilla, previously makers of many successful and stirring video campaigns, were mobilized to answer in some way. Apparently they made something that was such a strong response to this mockery that…they decided not to publish it, instead electing to stamp “Orgullosos de Andalucía” where a sponsor would be if we had one. (Although I think if they wanted to really get under cule skins, they should stamp Unicef there. Now who’s mes que who?!?) Again, in my opinion all of this nonsense is sort of overblown silliness; if every time a Spaniard mocks someone else’s Spanish there has to be a video response, we’re going to need a lot more videocameras. Also, let’s be honest: most Andalucíans have never met a consonant in the last half of a word that they liked well enough to pronounce. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Anyway, tune in this weekend, and add your own tactical insights below today!!!