As any scientifically minded person will tell you, identifying patterns is an important key to finding solutions to many types of problems. However, identifying patterns doesn’t always mean that answers necessarily follow, at least not straight away. In Sevilla Football Club’s case then, it may turn out that there is a very distinct and obvious reason behind the now identifiable and continuing pattern of winning at home (often with ease), and yet losing away (often with ease), but trying to work out exactly why that reason exists, is, as yet, something beyond even the realms of the most advanced rigours that science has yet to offer. In short… Welcome to the world of being a Sevilla supporter!
Completing a three day jamboree of La Liga action, our recent foes Valencia, replete in a rather fetching yellow, red and blue away kit, rolled into town. However, fresh of the back of demoralising and embarrassing defeat in Germany in which our European hopes went up in flames, not to mention an insipid league performance against Real Sociedad, how the mood had changed since our last outing at la Bombonera!
I for one was pretty apprehensive about the game leading up to kick off. First of all we were missing Gameiro and Tremoulinas, who often combine so well for us. Second, Valencia are one of those teams I always fear, and once again have the potential to be our main rivals the final Champions League qualification place. They also have players that can hurt any team on their day, and having watched a few of their European performances already, they seem a force to be reckoned with despite losing Otamendi to Man City. We on the other hand have looked like a pub team at times, especially on the road in Europe, and more worryingly domestically.
As it turned out I shouldn’t have been worried a jot, as despite another illustrious opponent in our way, it was pretty much business as usual (At. Madrid and Celta Vigo aside) at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Heck, tonight was even easier than the 5-0 Getafe (R.I.P) demolition last month. At least they had one shot at our goal!!! I mean, Valencia were so bloody bad tonight that the Valencia manager, Nuno, decided to call it a day in the post match press conference!!! Whether or not that his players knew beforehand, and it had an affect on his players performance, I suppose we will never know…
I actually missed the first 25 mins of the game due to some problem at the gates (photo below). I heard that the club knew about it and that the kick off was delayed, but not for long. The police seemed to be hyper sensitive about security (fair enough given the events in Paris recently), but perhaps an announcement to get the ground earlier would have helped, as around 1,000 or more fans waited for the airport style examination in order to enjoy a football match. As it turned out, by the time I got in I hadn’t missed much (or needed my passport) as the best chances happened just after I had taken my seat. Llorente with a solid header on target the best moment, followed by numerous other chances that were blocked by flying Valencia defenders. This meant that, for me at least, a rather short first half ended with the score level at 0-0.
Half time: Sevilla 0 Valencia 0
The second half started and continued in much the same way as the end of the first, with wave after wave of Sevilla attacks but with little end product. Then up stepped Argentine wizard Ever Banega, and his sublime pass (I was sitting directly behind it, and boy it was sweeeeet) over the Valencia defence was met with perfection by the onrushing debutant Escudero to smash his volley high into the Valencia net! 1-0 I have to admit that I was missing Tremo up to that point, but that was a finish Neymar or Suarez would have been proud of. ¡Que Golazo! After watching the replay that was sent to me by someone watching at home, it is clear that Escudero pointed to Banega where he wanted the ball to be put! The celebration of holding up Andreoli’s shirt was a nice gesture, and one we all appreciated, despite being a little formulaic these days.
After the opening goal we pressed and pressed and pressed but no second and killer goal was forthcoming, and therefore it was impossible to truly relax and enjoy the game. Some fans even started to grow restless, and called en masse for Immobile to replace the hapless Llorente, who I am sorry to say despite being a threat in the air, resembled a drunk bambi on ice with the ball at his feet. N’Zonzi was another man in line for the ire of the home support, as his passing, whilst in general accurate, was leaving a lot to be desired in terms of ambition, especially considering the options available against at the time 9 men. Maybe his upcoming court case is playing on his mind somewhat?
Valencia tried to press now and again, but pretty much everything was mopped up by our defensive midfielders and if not, our defenders, who took a few scary looking clatterings for their efforts. Despite some wasted chances (trying to walk the ball into the net), and then a last minute free kick that was cleared with ease, the three points were secured and remained in Nervión.
So, to conclude, a game that wasn’t high on drama, but at least as far as the season is concerned, being a Sevillista is far from boring!
As 90 minutes go though, I honestly don’t think I have ever attended a more one sided match. I mean, not just whilst watching Sevilla, but any match I have ever attended between two teams. It was indeed bizarre, but then I guess that is the way of it this season for us, so the bi-polar pattern continues.
Anyway, no complaints as three vital points against a tricky opponent are in the bag, and now top four doesn’t seem as unrealistic as before the game. However, the bigger problem remains to be resolved, and that is consistency, especially away from home. Until that is fixed we will be lucky to end the season as a ‘plucky difficult to beat at home’ side, but ultimately a failure and outside of the Euro (money) places. So, with that in mind, we absolutely must find a way of turning our home form into points away from home. I guess Deportivo La Coruña would be a good place to start, but if not we always have the small matter of an away game, albeit in our own city, coming up quite soon! Real Betis, the anti-Sevilla, the team that can win away with ease, but not it would seem at home, and Sevilla the team that cannot win away, but find it often too easy at home… basically, something has to give, and if we have to break this awful away form there, then what better place to do it?
After the Real Madrid victory I was guilty of saying that it was the turing point in our season. I have learned since then not to be so bold or optimistic with this current squad, not this season anyway… so let’s be happy with the score tonight and perhaps content ourself with the fact that this is the kind of season where we may have to just take one game at a time… For the moment we thankfully have no international breaks to interfere with what we have built upon, so no excuses not to end 2015 still in Europe, and more importantly in a strong position in the league.
Thanks for reading as always
Full time: Sevilla 1 Valencia 0