Writing this preview has been a real challenge. I haven’t actually seen Deportivo play all season, but I wanted to be able to discuss our opponents this week without revealing my total ignorance of them. Sure, they’re in 5th place, and have by all accounts been one of the biggest surprises of the first half of the season. But at the same time, I mean, when in the last 10 years or so has watching Deportivo ever been an appealling proposition? When you consider that these guys won the league in 2000 (the only team outside RM, Barca, Atleti, or Valencia to win the title in the last 30 years), it’s kind of shocking how bad they’ve been in recent years. This team went from “SuperDepor” to really putting the “poor” in Depor in astonishing time. They were relegated to La Segunda in 2010 and again in 2013 (the most recent entry in the history section on the club’s Wikipedia page is simply titled “Decline“, for crying out loud!), and yet here we are: it’s 2015, and Deportivo de la Coruña are in 5th place, just one game out of Champions League places.
So as I was saying, I was struggling to understand how these guys have done it when the club, probably sensing my befuddlement, had their big annual meeting and helped me understand the source of their success: debt and tax evasion. The club is 106 million euros in debt, a staggering 63 million of which is taxes owed. So basically, they’re copying Atletico’s formula for success, off the field at least. Again, I haven’t seen them play yet this season, so here’s hoping they’re at least using their financial shitbaggery to create an entertaining spectacle on the field (which is to say, hopefully they’re not also following Atleti’s on-field formula of being the most negative and boring team in Spain).
And what of Sevilla? Well, Banega’s injured, so the smart Sevilla fan is either stocking up on Xanax or has already made plans to do something else during the game today. I’m too lazy to look, but I’m pretty sure Sevilla hasn’t put in a confident display without our Argentine talisman all season other than the win over Barcelona. This “Banegadependencia” isn’t a secret–Emery talked about it at his last press conference. It’s a testament to his effectiveness and phenomenal recent form that Banega is able to continue to be so decisive when our reliance on him is so obvious–I’d think any team preparing to play Sevilla would know the first job is to mark him out of the game if he’s healthy. (Which, again, he’s not today).
So, no Banega, and an opponent in a great run of form. And a mid-week game against the European runners-up that could determine Sevilla’s Europa fate and/or how much pride we leave the Champions League with. On the other hand, though! Sevilla has won two straight, and are themselves only one game behind Depor in 5th place. And it’s fucking Deportivo! We’ve got more class and talent in our roster (even without Banega) than they have debt to the Spanish government and people! So let’s fucking do this!