Your lucky day Sevilla fans! A double post!!!
Let’s Talk about February – Jeremy
Hey there fellow Sevillistas! This has been a pretty good start to the year, no? The team’s firing on all cylinders, they keep winning games (we haven’t lost this year!), and scoring goals (nearly 3/game in 2016), and not losing (seriously we haven’t lost in forever!). And we’ve been moving up the table as a result–from 11th at the start of December to a respectable 5th. What could possibly go wrong, right?
Right…let’s talk about February, shall we? On the off chance the last couple months have gotten your hopes up even slightly, it’s probably a good time for a reality check in the form of a quick look at the calendar. Here’s the itinerary for February:
- Feb 4: vs. Celta, CdR ida
- Feb 7: at Celta, Liga
- Feb 11: at Celta, Cd vuelta
- 2/14: vs. Las Palmas, Liga
- 2/18: vs. Molde, Europa
- 2/21: at Rayo, Liga
- 2/25: at Molde, Europa
- 2/28: at Barcelona, Liga
That’s…a pretty full schedule, no? Playing a direct rival on the table (a team that’s been having a great year and one of the most sought-after players in the league) three times in one week is a rough start to any month, but when you throw in a European elimination match and finish the month with a visit to all-everything world-beating Barcelona, you’ve got the kind of month that has a good chance of ruining all your streaks and goals per stats and general good run of form.
Not to say that any of that’s definitely going to happen. I’m just saying…there’s some storm clouds on the horizon. Let’s hope the team’s up for it.
Transfer Window Closed – René
I think most of us were expecting some big moves over this January transfer window. Some were saying that it would determine the success of this season. I don’t think I ever felt that same level of urgency, but undoubtedly this team roster has had some known issues. I won’t say holes because the starting lineup looks pretty good, but certainly could’ve used more depth. In particular we went into transfer season thin at CB, RW, AM, and arguably striker.
CBs were thin from absurd amounts of injuries (Pareja, Andreolli). Right wingers were simply not performing up to standard with Reyes a hybrid of inconsistent and ineffective and Vitolo out of his natural position. Striker is more an issue of over dependence on Gameiro with Llorente and Munoz uncertain backups. And of course, this team tends to only perform as well as Banega does. And when he’s out of the lineup, its an issue.
So what was the net result? Anticlimactic drum roll please….
- Out: Immobile
- In: Fazio and Diogo
Let’s just say its been weird. Fazio obviously never settled at Tottenham. In some ways it makes perfect sense. We know Pareja is coming back, but there’s still some time before that happens and we aren’t certain of how quickly he’ll return to top form. So bringing back a guy who knows the team and system on a loan until the end of the season makes a certain amount of sense. Diogo didn’t seem like he would stay… until he did. I always liked Diogo. But RB seems quite crowded at this point. Which makes me think that the team might be eager to try him out at RW, to challenge Reyes and Vitolo for time. Of course, that’s only if he can find a bit of form after having sat the pine while on loan.
The more notable pieces of news were those that didn’t happen. Thankfully there was no massive swoop for our irreplaceable fixtures: Banega or Krycho. Denis Cherychev was apparently on the brink of coming here, but chose Valencia (bahaha have fun!) instead. I really thought Kakuta would leave for big monies over in China, but he chose to stay. He showed some flashes in his last few games, but its still unclear to me how much time he’ll be able to earn. And I also thought we’d say adios to San Beto. Honestly, I felt that would be best for everyone with Rico the undisputed starter and Soria having done well as his backup. I figured Beto would want to start somewhere. But he’s still here.
Monchi apparently is happy enough with Llorente and Munoz that signing a Gameiro backup wasn’t prioritized. And what many of us here have considered our most glaring vulnerability, dependence on Banega, was not addressed. Perhaps Monchi felt that the market simply didn’t offer us any substantial upgrades over Reyes and MKD for the price we would’ve had to pay. Bottom line is that we should all keep our fingers duct taped into a crossed position until the end of the season that Gameiro and Banega stay healthy.
With the insanely dense schedule Jeremy outlined above, we’ll see whether this strategy of basically staying pat pays off or proves to have been a costly error.