How any Sevilla fan feels about this week’s Champion’s League visit to Manchester depends mostly on which Sevilla said fan is inclined to believe will show up. The Sevilla we have seen for most of this season (and saw for most of this weekend’s frustrating 1–1 tie with Eibar) is probably only capable of embarrassing itself at the Etihad on Wednesday. But could the Sevilla who beat Barcelona 2 weeks ago (and to a lesser extent, the Sevilla of the last 20 minutes vs Eibar) also beat a hobbled City team without their two best attacking players? Absolutely.
If you’re a pessimistic fan, you point to basically every game this year and wonder why this one will be different. You remember the team’s performance when visiting Juventus in the last Champion’s League game and feel shame and fear and try not to think about it any more. You think about how rarely the team has seemed comfortable with just simple horizontal passes in the midfield, or how much they simply just seem incapable of maintaining possession, ever. You remember all of this, and you wonder why I’m calling you “pessimistic” and not “a very wise and insightful fan who is almost certainly right to be damn near certain of utter doom and destruction on Wednesday night. And then you note quietly to yourself that City certainly didn’t seem to be missing Silva and Kun too much while they scored five goals this weekend against Bournemouth.
If you’re an optimistic fan, though, you note how injury-plagued this team has been, and you note that things finally started looking organized and downright exciting when Banega stepped on the field for the first time in a month. And you note that at least the defense didn’t look so shambolic with Rami and Tremoulinas in there. And Kevin scored, you’ll note! And maybe Emery will finally start Konoplyanka! And maybe in the Champions League the refs would call clear penalties on Konoplyanka! And then you hear someone talking about City scoring 5 this weekend and you roll your eyes and say “Bournemouth? Really? Come on, now.” You claim your little brother could score 5 on Bournemouth. You try to hide your happiness that Silva and Agüero won’t be around.
Me? I don’t know. Writing this all out has moved me a tiny bit on the optimist’s side of things. Give me Banega for N’Zoni and Kono for Reyes, maybe sprinkle in some MKD at some point, and I like our midfield quite a bit. I think the fact that Sterling scored a hat trick this weekend is more a testament to the strength of City’s midfield and other attacking players more than Sterling somehow moving from “fast” to “fast and good”, and I think they’ll make us look stupid a couple times on Wednesday. But I don’t think that means Sevilla can’t win this away game against a very tough squad. Not at all. This one’s winnable. We just have to go get it. So, you know, vamos.