Match Preview – Real Sociedad v Sevilla FC – Week 17

Out of form Real Sociedad welcome a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ Sevilla to San Sebastian for what should be an impossible to call, yet entertaining midweek encounter.

With all the concern over the health of the manager, not to mention the cloud over a certain midfielder’s future, the team could be forgiven for being a little bit off the boil of late. Even though Berizzo is thankfully back in the dugout (hopeful they caught the cancer early enough), and the N’Zonzi debacle seems to be nearing its conclusion (more on that below), the roller coaster ride that comes with being a Sevillista shows no sign of stopping anytime soon. Amazingly though, this is the first year since 2013 that will end without a major trophy to show for it.

In the meantime, priceless points are up for grabs before the year is completely out, as falling further behind the leading pack would be unthinkable heading into 2018. Although, as the table stands, Real Madrid are in 4th with a game in hand, Valencia still look the most vulnerable of the current top sides. They’re currently 3rd, but despite all the media hype and talk of pushing for the league title after their blistering start, they are still only a measly five points ahead of us, which isn’t that bad considering how poorly the last two games have went. Worst case scenario heading into 2018 is we are chasing Valencia by 8 points, best case is the gap is down to just 2 points.

Interestingly enough, Valencia and Villarreal, who are probably the only other team who will give us the hardest challenge to getting into that top 4, go head-to-head this Saturday. It will be an interesting game to follow. A loss for Villareal and they would put a 13 point gap between them and Valencia, and even before the half way point of the season, that might be too much to claw back.

Focussing on us though, an embarrassing thrashing from Real Madrid and a goalless draw at home to Levante is hardly ideal preparation for tonight’s game. The only positive is La Real also go into the game on the back of 4 straight defeats and draw (a credible 0-0 against local rivals Bilbao). They’ll no doubt be looking to put an end to that miserable run before the mini winter break and will probably see a wounded, faltering, not to mention generally poor on the road, Sevilla side as ideal prey. Our form in recent years there has been really poor, only one win since 2006, albeit only a year ago – a memorable 4-0 victory, capped with a Ben Yedder hat trick! Even a quarter of that score line would be welcome.

As a side note, Mexican international striker Carlos Vela will likely play his last game for them before heading off to the MLS. I always enjoyed watching him play, scored some memorable goals, but hopefully we won’t be responsible for giving him happy farewell match in front of the home fans.

So here we are – the final Liga game of 2017, a year full of ups and downs, managerial changes and illness, treacherous players (I’m looking at you Vitolo), our first empty trophy cabinet since 2013. And, of course, a year that will always be remembered as the year we parted company with club legend, and key reason for our glorious last decade, Monchi.

Squad list for Real Sociedad:

GKs: Rico, Soria

DEFs: Corchia, Carole, Kjaer, Escudero

MIDs: MKD, Banega, Correa, Pizarro, Navas, Sarabia, Ganso, Geis, Borja

FWDs: Ben Yedder, Muriel, Nolito, Mudo

N’Zonzi update:

Stephen N’Zonzi looks to be on his way back to the English Premier League in the January window. He is not in the squad for tonight, and is training away from the first team. Apparently it stems from a bust up with Berizzo, and subsequent walk out of the RSP, after being subbed off against Liverpool in the Champions League. There is also talk that he doesn’t like sharing the field with Pizarro.

Regardless of the reasons, it will still be sad to see him leave the club, as after a slow start, he became an integral part of our midfield and the way we played. The only bonus being he would command a transfer fee that could be re-invested. I would imagine some transfer targets have already been lined up in this case. If his attitude problem is the reason for his departure, it will be a sadly ignominious end to what could have been a fondly remembered couple of years for player and club.





Notable Replies

  1. Rene1 says:

    nice post chris. will be interesting to see how much we are actually able to get back for nzonzi considering his situation at the club. doesn’t seem we’d have a lot of leverage.

    win against RS would be great but not holding my breath. cant make much sense of this team.

    also, chris i couldnt even tell you wrote the post on the front page…

  2. Rene, you’re not the only one who can’t make sense of this team. I know one thing though, I’ve had enough of this manager already. And Castro is not without balls when it comes to money, he’ll be looking at the two months we have before facing Man United in which time he could change the coaching staff and a good chunk of the players.

    I’ve given up thinking we’re going to win games because here we have a team without identity, no heart, no soul, no brain, no play, no captain, no tactics. And to cap it all, dressing room bust ups.

    Holy Moses, Berizzo should read that last paragraph to the players as they walk onto the pitch.

  3. Sergio Rico; Corchia, Geis, Kjaer, Escudero; Pizarro, Banega; Sarabia, Ganso, Krohn-Dehli; y Ben Yedder

    Berizzo leaves Nolito and Correa on the bench and decides to shift play through the middle. Good idea, it’s a big pitch with plenty of room for wingers, at least it’s a plan.

  4. Getafe beating bottom of the table Las Palmas 2-0 with 87 mins gone

    Las Palmas have been sooo poor this season, and they have some great players. That is what they get for colluding with Atletico in the Vitolo saga I guess :slight_smile:

  5. Geis steps out to leave Vela offside but too late, Corchia has to rescue the situation. Geis is great but not a natural defender.

  6. Another goal on a corner. We suck at defending set pieces.

  7. Another saveable header creeps past Sergio Rico, Sevilla in crisis and looking like the starting 11 are declaring independence in search of a new manager

  8. Hate to break it to you, but it is Soria in goal

    Agree was saveable, seemed slow to react

  9. Well Rico was named in the lineup but I expect much of the same from Soria I’m afraid.

  10. Ganso with the overhead kick over the bar!

    Slightly promising signs that we could get back into this


    Ben Yedder

  12. One of the few times we have seen WBY create his own goal. Nice to see.

  13. Edinho says:

    Well played Ben Yedder on the goal. He showed the same kind of skill in his hattrick last year in Anoeta. But that was about all that was positive from the 1st half from us. I expect a stronger response from La Real to be honest. Our guys, once again, don’t seem up for it. Can’t even see hope on the bench either.

  14. How are you watching? Streaming or on the TV?

  15. Guido Pizarro out of next match

    Will miss the derbi vrs Betis

    With no N’Zonzi and no Pizarro we are going to be a little bit light in defensive midfield

  16. switched off after their sub

    far too much space

  17. 3-1.

    I feel relieved, like when I wished the first half 5-0 in Madrid would extend to 8-0 or 10-0, only to get rid of this manager.

    Bye bye Berizzo

  18. Edinho says:

    It’s as if we never played together before. Despite all Berizzo has tried, NOTHING is working. Sure, the personel isn’t the best, but this is pitiful.

  19. He’s history.

  20. Hopefully he will step down to concentrate on kicking cancer’s ass. Just isn’t working for this team this year. I know we are missing two key CBs, but for all measure Kjaer and Lenglet are good enough. Playing through the wings doesn’t work for this team as there isn’t any height up front to head in the crosses. We are missing leadership on the pitch too I think. Too much rotation + rotating captain arm bands just doesn’t work in my opinion.

  21. also cannot believe we gave Carlos Vela the perfect send off to MLS

    Was almost scripted… sickening

  22. Edinho says:

    As a temporary solution, sure. I just think it’d be harsh to sack someone right around Christmas, especially after what he’s going thru. We could be worse off in the league, and we’re still in touch for a Top 4 finish.

    There was so much change in the off-season (as usual), but in this case it was more than just the players — from Monchi and his scouts, to the Sevilla B coach, and to the medical staff. Arias & Berizzo were naïve with our defense, and look where we are. Both Pareja & Carriço are unsurprisingly missing in action, and if u ask me, Nico would still be MIA even if he was playing.

    I’m willing to sacrifice this whole season to get this club back on track. We’re far from favourites to obtain a CL berth for next season, but a well executed January window can see a rejuvenated team in the 2nd half of the campaign.

  23. Brian says:

    I think perhaps that it’s not only N’zonzi that Berizzo has upset,. The whole team doesn’t seem to want to play for him. Banega, Escudero, sarabia , Mudo and KD for example don’t suddenly become bad players. He has 2 games left to turn things round, lose to Cadiz & Betis and he should resign with dignity. Otherwise the hankies will be out and “Veteya” will echo around the RSP.

  24. Club meeting tomorrow to discuss future of Berizzo and Tevenet. I don’t believe there are many hang ups about sacking people at Christmas in Spanish society, quite the opposite it’s business as usual.

  25. ShendM says:

    I believe in Berizzo, as a person, that he will be clever and negotiate a resignation, maybe take a bit less money than Sevilla would pay if they sack him, but much better for his own image and also the club’s.

    As Chris said, he should leave football alone a bit and fully concentrate on his health. Cancer is not a joke. I don’t think having a stressful job with a lot of work to do and a lot of disbelief and criticism around is going to make things better for Berizzo’s health. The man needs some relaxing and family time, professional football can be a real pain.

    I once read an article where it was stated that (a medical fact) the EPL managers develop kidney stones faster due to the high stress that comes with the position and the frequent sackings (career ruining for some managers).

    So things need to be put in a human perspective. Life and health is above all. Screw football, if you’re sick, you cannot play or participate in any way, regardless of the love and passion for the sport, it’s a human being’s life after all.

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