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Español away – La Liga – Week 20

Well, if this week has taught us anything it’s what a difference 90 minutes of football can make! Doom and gloom surrounded the club after last weekend’s dismal display away to Alaves, followed by a training ground confrontation between players and members of Biris Norte. It was safe to say we were in crisis, and for some media outlets Sevilla were officially a club in ‘free-fall’.

League defeats to Betis and Alaves did nothing to warrant a defence to any of those claims, and had simply served to compound the misery of an already concerned fan-base. Player and coaching team confidence appeared to be at an all-time low, and Montella’s position already looked to some as being insecure. All in all, an upcoming away trip to the notoriously ruthless thugs that call themselves Atletico Madrid seemed like the last thing we needed.

But then something happened. After some intense early pressure/kicking/diving etc. by the hosts, the Sevilla players started to find their composure and create a few half chances of their own. The body language was changing, and players looked to visibly gain a couple of extra inches. After a few scares they went in at half time feeling a mix of relief and belief. Not even a 2nd half Diego Costa goal could dampen their spirits. After all, one goal down would not be the worst result to take with us back to Sevilla for the 2nd leg.

Then something magical happened. Super-sub Jesus Navas with the deflected cross in the 79th minute, their keeper Moya flapped at it and unwittingly helped nestle into the net. Game on! And from then on only one team looked like stealing a winner, and so it came when Correa galloped onto a Ben Yedder headed through ball and calmly dispatched past the helpless keeper. 1-2 Sevilla! No one could have seen that one coming.

For both the team and supporters, our unexpected heroics in Madrid will certainly have gone a long way in building previously shattered confidence. And, despite it only technically being ‘half-time’ in the tie, when the final whistle blew on Wednesday evening there was a general feeling that we had witnessed enough evidence to signal some light at the end of what has been a very dark tunnel for Sevilla FC.

Which leads us to Saturday lunch-time, that sees us attempt to ride this current wave of enthusiasm as we seek to record our first league win in 6 attempts. This time it is our old friends from Catalonia, Español that stand in our way of ending that dreadful run of form. They are incidentally also floating on air after their own historic midweek 1-0 victory over city rivals FC Barcelona, so any thoughts of an easy three points should be quickly dismissed.

The squad list has been announced, and again no sign or Guilherme Arana. The reasons for this I don’t know. Perhaps Montella is giving him some time to settle in the area, or perhaps he doesn’t see much in him as a player? He certainly doesn’t seem to have a thing for his compatriot PH Ganso either. Hopefully this is not the sign of an anti-Brazilian trend, and I am confident that it isn’t.

The same starting XI that we had on Wednesday would do for me. If it is not broke, why fix it? As for the score I have no idea, my heart says 2-1 Sevilla again, but my head says 2-2.

The time for Montella to win over the doubters is now, Wednesday could have been a one-off, and besides league points are the most precious commodity at the moment, what with a chasing pack including Betis breathing down our necks. And not only Betis, as far down as Real Sociedad, who are only 6 points behind us in 15th! So we really can’t be dropping any more needless points from here on in if we want to keep the wolves from the door. We as a club want to be focusing at the teams above us in the table, not below us. A win on Saturday would give us some breathing space and belief to keep on looking up, in more ways than one!

 

Notable Replies

  1. Still no new guy! Wednesday is more important that tomorrows match. I’d go with:

    Soria
    Corchia - Mercado - Lenglet - Carole
    Pizarro Geis
    Vazquez
    Navas WBY Nolito

    Give Banega and Nzonzi a rest

  2. ShendM says:

    Montella stated that Arana needs more time to adapt before starting to play since he is approx. 2 months behind everyone else in the team (fitness-wise obviously).

    Hoping to see Arana in action soon.

    As for tomorrow’s match, 3 points would’ve been great. I’m expecting Espanyol to rest a couple of players as they’ll be focusing on eliminating their city rivals in the coming mid-week CDR return leg.

  3. ShendM says:

    I like this formation. Banega should definitely rest. As for N’Zonzi, he hasn’t played for almost a month after that confrontation with Berizzo, so maybe not his best time to rest now.

    Carole too risky there at LB. He is extremely slow when tracking back to defend, ideally it should’ve been Arana, but oh well.

  4. Brian says:

    Montella has confirmed that the same team will start.
    Sergio Rico, Corchia, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; Nzonzi, Banega, Franco Vázquez; Sarabia, Correa and Muriel.

    When was the last time we played the same 11 two games running? I can’t remember

  5. Let’s see 8 or 9 men behind the ball and hit them on the counter. I want 3 points more than the Atletico game, we have serious challenges emerging just below, even Betis are closing in. Re-establishing ourselves in the top 5 is fundamental

  6. Espanyol have too many Lopez’ playing. Two different Diego Lopez another J.Lopez and Pau Lopez on the bench.

  7. Not looking anything like against Atletico, can’t string three passes together.

  8. And then they string a good move together and 0-1 Vazquez.

  9. Corchia’s ability to get behind the defense is key.

    Mudo cleans it up.

  10. Corchia looking useful today but Sevilla’s football is too frantic and panicky, just need to tighten up and have some composure.

  11. Brilliant by Sarabia

  12. Sarabia savage

  13. 0-2 Good.

    Banega not taking any prisoners today. Espanyol now pressing. Still seeing Sergio Rico punching balls away that the averge 13-year-old without any football experience could catch cleanly, that will end in tears eventually.

  14. Tremendous defensive error by Banega nearly let’s them through but he’s making up for it with his work rate. Half time. 0-2.

  15. Mark_L says:

    Nice 1st half by the team! Vamos Sevilla! Could be another huge win! That win at Atletico Madrid could be the turning point for our season!

  16. ShendM says:

    A totally different Sevilla from the last week. I really hope this is not just a temporary fix, but a beginning of something good.

    Brian asked when was the last time we played the same 11… really can’t remember. But another question follows, when was the last time we won and played very well in two consecutive away matches vs. difficult opponents (one of them a top team)? Can’t remember either.

    Hopefully we won’t screw this up and hold on tight to the 3 points. Another goal would’ve been icing on the cake, I don’t think we can concede more than 2 in the second half.

    Mercado should always play as CB, and Kjaer should be benched, along with whoever recovers first from the injury and is ready to play, out of the Pareja-Carrico duo.

    VAMOS MI SEVILLA!!! VAMOS CAMPEON!!!

  17. I’m more pessimistic, for me it’s a blip and we haven’t had the composure we showed midweek, but if we can continue a winning run then it will be business as usual.

  18. Grave error, we are lucky not to have conceded there. Now they’re going to throw everything at Sevilla try and ruffle us up. Hope that Batistao gets a second yellow, he always scores aginst us.

  19. Sevilla need to finish it off because they’re making way too many defensive errors.

  20. Thataboy Muriel. Something to build on

  21. Edinho says:

    Finally.

  22. Brian says:

    At last Muriel scores. We’re still making too many mistakes in defence for my liking but there is def improvement in the team, they are working a lot harder.

    We may be getting our mojo back,

  23. Missed the game, but woohoo! Can’t wait to see the highlights.

  24. At least Montella knows that Nolito and Navas should never start at the same time.
    And still only Emery knows how to use Banega.

  25. what a victory that was… sure Español were poor, but we were ruthless, and I am much more optimistic that Montella is building something good now. We look more solid than we have done away from home, and I dont recall winning 2 away games back to back in many years.

    Onwards and upwards!

    VAMOS!

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