After last week’s thrilling extra time European Super Cup matchup with Barcelona that ended in the most victory-tasting loss there probably could ever be, Sevilla has the honor of opening the 2015–2016 on Friday with their Andalucían rivals Malaga (née “Puta Malaga”). The side’s incredible transfer season (about which: more to come, once the window’s closed and we’re in that weird international break that comes just after the season starts. We’ll have predictions and polls galore to while away those frustrating hours and days.) had probably elevated both the mood and the expectations as high as they get around these parts, and then they went and put on a really courageous second-half comeback against the best team in Europe. I suppose it would’ve been better if we’d just gone ahead and won the damn game, but somehow the way that game went down was its own kind of satisfying. And I think the result galvanized everyone around these parts for the upcoming season in a way that winning maybe wouldn’t have.
But enough about the preseason! Tomorrow the long summer ends, and we get to see how a very promising collection of talented players looks on the first game of jornada 1. An away match to a close (talented) rival is probably not how I’d have picked to start the season, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit anxious about the game. But at the same time, our guys had a great, high intensity match to shake off the cobwebs (I’m calling some of those first half defensive bed-shittings “cobwebs”), a luxury that Malaga didn’t have, what with their not having won a continental trophy last year.
Every match and every point matters, of course, but for my part I’ll be doing everything I can to not make each mislaid pass and lazy touch into a forecast of doom for our Liga and Champions campaigns. It’s the first week in a long season, so let’s all promise each other to not lose our shit after the match–regardless of the result. (“HOLY SHIT KONOPLYANKA FOR BALON D’OR” seems as likely to end in disaster for all of us as “HOW DID WE BECOME SO TERRIBLE IN TWO MONTHS LET’S GET READY FOR THE RELEGATION BLUES” if you ask me.)
Unai’s got a Twitter contest going: a signed jersey to whoever correctly guesses the lineup for the game. I’m pretty sure one of you guys will get the right starting XI in the comments, and I’m even more sure that I wouldn’t get even if I literally had 18! guesses. The 18 Emery will be picking from are Beto, Sergio Rico, Coke, Mariano, Tremoulinas, Rami, Kolodziejczak, Krychowiak, Iborra, N’Zonzi, Krohn-Dehli, Banega, Denis Suárez, Reyes, Vitolo, Konoplyanka, Gameiro, and Immobile. I still can’t believe the players Monchi et al have managed to collect for this season. And we all get the joy of seeing them come together tomorrow. Vamos indeed, my friends.