On Sunday, our beloved Sevilla FC will be traveling to face Levante. Of course news and discussion about the actual game remains a tertiary story following (1) our last minute hunt for cover at the center back position and (2) the ongoing transfer saga surrounding Kondogbia. Let’s take these pieces one at a time.
(1) Center Back: Yeah, we just got obliterated in the center of defense with our recent unexpected and long-term injuries to that position. Two intriguing names (though pure speculation) by eldesmarque are Fede Fernandez from Napoli. He is the starting CB for Argentina, but is rumored to be out of favor by Benitez who recently brought in Albiol. The other option (which I would love) is bringing old friend Martin Caceres back from Juventus. Caceres will be eager to find somewhere he can get playing time as the World Cup approaches and he would fit in seamlessly at here at his old club. I’m not sure either option is particularly likely, but something has to happen soon, especially if Cala does end up getting loaned out. But should we consider keeping him around then? Or is his quality still lacking? Normally, I hate taking players on loan, but given our injuries it seems to make the more sense than paying for the transfer of someone who we later won’t have room for. Thoughts?
(2) Kondogbia: He asked to come off the pitch just seven minutes into the Europa match. Then he was playing, seemingly full intensity, the very next day. Maybe he had a sincere scare with his abdomen (which was a problem for him earlier in his career) or maybe this is a red flag about his commitment. Monaco keeps on being mentioned and they’re taking a serious look at his buy-out clause. But again, this could leave us very exposed in the center of the pitch. Personally, I feel like this has become too big of a distraction to a club that needs to have a strong rebound season. If we get a very good offer for him, we should take it. I’d be interested to see Cristoforo get his first minutes of the season to see how he does.
(3) The match itself!: Notably, these two teams “swapped” players this offseason, both of whom could play an important role in determining the outcome of the game. We snatched Iborra from them and he seems likely to start in the center of the pitch or possibly on the back line. And, without Emery’s confidence, Baba was shipped to Levante where he intends to do his best Kone impersonation by showing how wrongfully neglected he was in Sevilla. Personally, though he never took his opportunities well, I thought Baba had a lot of potential and should’ve gotten more consistent chances. Maybe I’m still mesmerized by his old Porto highlights videos.
Iborra has said that Levante will be extra motivated, and you have to assume he is right. Levante will be eager to forget last weeks humiliating 0-7 massacre at the hands of Barcelona and to have a strong showing for their home opener. They were a very tough side last year and gave us real headaches (we tied at home and lost away) so they can not be taken for granted. This game will be a battle. Our first half schedule is savagely difficult and this may be one of our best opportunities (despite being an away game) to get three points (the next three are Malaga, Valencia, and Barcelona). I’m very happy that we got such a strong result against Slask because we need to go with our top side this weekend, even if we are forced to play a weaker one midweek.
If our defense can hold tight and not make too many critical mistakes I think we’ll battle to a 2-1 win. I’ll give the goals arbitrarily to Bacca and Marin.
Let’s go Sevilla!