It’s here! The first derby of the year in Spain is in Sevilla featuring the fiercest rivals in all Europe. This edition is even drawing former (and relatively minor) players into Twitter battles!! This derby has EVERYTHING! Well, except Jesus Navas naked. One day that hashtag will prove itself prophetic, I swear.
Both squads come off slightly disappointing weekend results with Betis having to come back on Granada to earn a 2-2 draw at home and Sevilla leaving Eibar with a single point after playing an entire 45′ with a man advantage. As we’ll say every time these teams meet, though, prior results have almost no bearing on this match. Also, as is often the case, football itself has almost no bearing on this match! After our famous Espanyol win in week one, Marca ran stories on our 6-4 “Ode to Football”. Whatever the opposite of that looks like, that is the kind of sport we usually see a lot of in the derby: bodies clashing, shin-rubbing, and something like that 8th hour of a botellón when it’s just people yelling and throwing shit at each other in what was formerly known as a “party”.
Sevilla will be without Kolo, Ganso, and Ben Yedder tonight, and Betis without Mandi and Sanabria. I can’t speak to the importance of those Betis absences, but Sampaoli’s choice to leave out Ben Yedder means Carlos Fernández might get some minutes in a game to which he is able to contribute some local spice. Whether it’s goal-scoring spice or dig-those-cleats-into-Joaquín spice is one of the exciting things we will soon be discussing!
We’re a couple hours from lineups being announced, so get your guesses in early!