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Sevilla – Celta: Match Comments

It’s Thursday match day in Sevilla. Once upon a time, we were playing Europa matches from February to April on these dates. On one of those Thursdays our club’s most iconic goal was scored. Can you name it? Of course you can!

No, not M’Bia’s header to win it in Valencia on the last play. No, not Vitolo’s goal after 12 seconds at El Madrigal (still a Europa League record). Good guesses, though! It was Antonio Puerta who ripped his left foot through a bounding cross, splicing it around a defender and into the far netting. What I’ve always remembered is that Puerta takes the longest to react of anyone, hardly believing his 100′ strike could be sending Sevilla to their first final since the 1960s. It was 11 years ago today.

Collective memory is important, and we’ll hopefully make use of some of it today as we face a team we haven’t lost to in a couple years. Celta visits the RSP in a run of mixed form. They gutted out a long-suffering draw in Belgium to earn passage through to the Europa semis, where they will hopefully do La Liga proud against Manchester United. At home in La Liga they have little to play for as they sit 10th with 44 points–surely safe from the bottom and also surely adrift of the qualification for Europa. But hmm.. Let me think.. I know a certain team who has built recent success by not qualifying for European tournaments via the domestic league..

On Sevilla’s side, we’re in position to go level with Atlético if we can get all three points tonight. We have equally challenging runs through the last four fixtures of the season (@Málaga, R. Sociedad, @RM, Osasuna) compared to Atleti (@Las Palmas, @RM CL Semis, Eibar, RM CL Semis, @Betis, Athletic Bilbao), but Atleti have a much more compressed month with higher stakes elsewhere besides La Liga.

Our squad will be without Vitolo due to his injury against Valencia a couple weeks back, and Nasri makes his return at least to the bench. Sampaoli has helped Sevilla recover some of its early-to-mid season form and hopefully its toughness to fight through the final stages of the season after the Leicester Disaster (Leicester Dicester?) and humbling defeats to Atleti and Barcelona. We’ve won at home twice and drawn away at Valencia since then, with Correa, Sarabia, and Jovetic playing leading roles. Sarabia has been in tremendous form lately and has arguably been our best player in the second half of the season. He should enjoy himself against a team that gives up 2 goals a game away from home. Will we see Ganso again after his surprise inclusion and standout performance against Granada last weekend? Will we see a Puerta shirt on the bench today? Will Jovetic shave some of those whiskers?

This is why we’ve come to see you today, Sevilla! VAMOS!!

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    Lineup just announced:

    Rico
    Mariano
    Pareja
    Lenglet
    Escudero
    N’Zonzi
    Iborra
    Sarabia
    Ganso
    Correa
    Jovetic

    #gimmesomeganso

  2. NIce write up Aaron:
    It has been a crazy week for Sevilla.

    • Thursday April 20th – Sampaoli pretty much announces that he will take over Argentina in the offseason
    • Friday April 21st – Sevilla beat Granada 0-2
    • Monday April 24th – Roma announce signing of Monchi
    • Monday April 24th – Sevilla announce signing of Oscar Arias
    • Wednesday April 26th – Castro announces that Sevilla are in talks to bring Jesus Navas back home
    • Wednesday April 26th – Atletico lose to give hope to Sevilla on moving back into a tie for third place
    • Thursday April 27th – Sevilla dominate Celta to move into a tie for third place
  3. As Aaron alluded to, there’s a Europa League feel to this game. Celta plays a semi-final a week from now, so it’s a perfect opportunity for them to get their 1st team some match practice for Utd. And why not against the 3-time defending champions?

    Despite his 2-goal performance last week, I was still nervous about Ganso’s potential start in this game. But now I feel it’s a perfect chance to evaluate him for that role next season. Who knows what he can offer during this last stretch.

    I still feel like we haven’t returned to our ideal level of play from earlier this season, but are inching towards it. Facing an in-form Celta Vigo is a good test for our resolve.

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  5. Not much rhythm to the game. A lot of stoppages. Celta were never gonna be easy to break down. However we did manage a few good possessions in and around their penalty area. I appreciate the playing time Correa is getting, but he’s again being wasteful with his chances.

    I don’t know about y’all, but this Iborra-N’Zonzi-Sarabia midfield looks a bit weird to me. The balance of it seems a bit off.

    Jovetic is heavily involved in our attacks as always, N’Zonzi’s his imperious self in midfield, and Ganso is actually showing signs of a competent CAM. They need to get the ball to him a bit more. There’s magic in his feet.

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  8. Great! Important 3 points achieved tonight. Now we can safely say that at the very least the 4th spot is ours.

    However, the fight for the 3rd continues, even though still quite tough, having lost that h2h with Atleti.

  9. Good result. Could’ve scored a few more if it weren’t for that crossbar. Celta deserved a penalty from that Iborra handball, so perhaps the whistle against Lenglet was a makeup call. Whenever referees are quick to point to the spot, it feels like they’re looking for it.

    But what an opener by Tucu! It’s for those moments that I always want to see Correa play. He shows that he’s also willing to be a contributor. He can be a top player, but that will depend on him. He will improve with experience, but must also show consistency.

    The red card kinda helped, but a huge change to the game took place once Nasri came on. He took the initiative in all our attacks, and it was no surprise to see he assisted Ben Yedder for the winner. It showed how much we missed him in our last few fixtures.

    Although it was for only 20 minutes, it seems that Nasri & Ganso are better together than a Nasri-Vázquez tandem in midfield. Still too small of a sample size to make that conclusion, but it looks like Ganso understands his role better when Samir’s on the field.

    Overall, i’m glad we got the win. Still don’t think we’re ready for our date at the Bernabéu, but things are starting to look good. These upcoming matches against Málaga & La Real will also be good tests.

  10. Well that was my final visit to the RSP for this season , next week we will be returning to the UK for the summer. Nice to go out on a win and a well deserved one at that.

    I must mention that although Kranvitter is far from my favourite player and he gets some bad press on here, last night after coming on he never put a foot wrong, he got stuck in straight away, made a couple of great tackles and stroked some telling passes.

    On a side note because it was my last game of the season and rain was forecast I thought I’d treat myself to one of the “posh” seats under the roof of the preferencia rather than get wet in my usual place down by the pitch.
    For future reference if anyone else is tempted to pay the extra for a “posh” seat in the VIP Voladizo Juan Arza

    Seat 22, row 1 is directly under a leak in the roof and you will be constantly dripped on throughout the game LOL.

  11. I’ve had a few problems in the stadium (with Sevillistas) I’m normally at the front of gol sur (right side camera view), far side of goal. But thanks to good connections I get a lot of seats in preferencia. The Barcelona game was real eye-opener, it appears that they contract models and orientals and buy seats in the main camera angles, to boost prestige. It was clear that these ‘Cules’ had little interest in the game but went into actor mode at the end of both halves and when Barca scored, all for the cameras. Another nail in the coffin. Getting fed up with modern football.

    Seems like the Celta manager will be sevillas manager next season

  12. Forgot to say, it was a great analysis/post and great work by Chris to dig out all those dates. Also, I’m not against Kranevitter, don’t see inherent problems, it’s Sergio Rico that worries me.

  13. Sampaoli has already poached his assistant coach for the Argentine job, so he’s been working on this in the background, DISAPPOINTED IN HIM, and so now pleased he’s going. Look forward to some decent attractive football with Berizzo next season.

    1. Ex-Chile coach (right before Sampaoli got in) was right from the beginning. I’ve read this article from the day it was published in January and from then on doubted Sampaoli’s personality.

      http://www.ovaciondigital.com.uy/futbol/borghi-duro-contra-sampaoli.html

      Apparently Sampaoli also negotiated for the Chile role while Borghi was still there with a valid contract. He has no ethics and no manners (according to Borghi, which are turning out to be true).

      Hopefully we can get someone who can take us to the next level from the next season.

  14. Although Berrizo is certainly in the reckoning because he’s in contact with the club, it wouldn’t surprise me if Sevilla went for a top, top manager, especially if we qualify in third place. But who?

  15. Big game tonight! Hard match but if we take the 3 points it could go a long way to securing top 4, maybe getting 3rd and also keep our chances of finishing with our highest points total ever! 🙂

  16. Win tonight and we will finish in 4th place at least. 8pts ahead of Villareal with only 9pts left to play for and they have to visit Barca next week.