You could be forgiven for forgetting that Sevilla plays this weekend. A quick perusal of the papers and websites of the Spanish dailies would give the impression that there is exactly one game, and it doesn’t involve any teams from Andalucía or el País Vasco. (They even asked Unai about it, who responded exactly correctly to a question about a game between two teams we already beat this year). I checked though, and sure enough: Sevilla visits Real Sociedad today.
When we last left our heroes, they were celebrating being objectively better than Real Madrid on pretty much every measure. It was pretty exciting. La Real were having…decidedly less fun, losing 2–0 to Las Palmas (an admittedly familiar feeling for Sevilla fans) and then saying goodbye to their manager shortly thereafter (a relatively distant memory for Sevilla fans).
Games like this, though, coming right after an international break, and with a brand new manager, have a strange way of not following recent form in the least. New hires can at times have a rejuvenating effect on struggging teams (a phenomenon we’ve witnessed a few times ourselves in the past), and certainly the international break can be an extremely effective way to break up good form for a team coming off a big win. And not without reason: in Sevilla’s case a few key players–Konoplyanka, Banega, Krychowiak, and Krohn-Dehli–were all called up for international duties, and some of them played a lot of minutes in key matches. How tired they are, how they are used, and how up for the game they are could be key to Sevilla’s fortunes today.
In Real Sociedad’s case, Mexican internationals Carlos Vela and Diego Reyes arrived back to their club pretty late and won’t be available today. That’s pretty good news, I’d say. But of course the team has several very competent players, and their position in the table isn’t, I don’t think, an accurate reflection of their potential. How much of that potential they reach today (and if Banega is 100% and able to play) may be the biggest factor in today’s outcome.
Lineup predictions in the comments!