Sevilla – Espanyol Match Comments: It Begins!!!

If we’d polled the site to make predictions about how our pre-season would go, there’s decent chance “come into our opener on a three game losing streak, and pretty exhausted from playing three games in seven days” would’ve won. And sure enough, here we are!


Similarly, I don’t think anyone would get any prizes at this point for predicting that Sevilla will take a minute to figure out which players go where, and do what, to best realize Sampaoli’s vision for high pressure, frenetic energy, and quick striking attacks. It’s not that I think they’re not going to be able to make it happen eventually, it’s just that I don’t think they’re going to be able to make it happen, like, TODAY. That doesn’t mean I think we’ll lose this game, but I do think if we win it’ll mostly be an ugly affair. And if we do lose I don’t think it should be seen as a concerning sign.


Season starts for real today, folks. Let’s do this. Let’s vamos.


Comments 128

  1. MUDO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Great dummy Kiyo. Great pass by Nzonzi to release Sarabia for the cross.

  2. vazquez!!!!! another great team build up.

    4-3! now lets show some poise without letting up on them….

    and play just a little bit tidier and more conservative on the back line so we don’t give away any bad possession.

    i think that’s kiyotake’s second assist today.

  3. ouch. vitolo just got clocked in the face.

    not malicious but definitely dangerous play. cant have your elbow up there that high.

  4. sarabia! looks to the left as if he’s going that way then lays it off to ben yedder on the right. classy play. he’s been really good.

  5. yikes. we were lucky they didnt put that ball across on the counter….

    but on the whole, espanyol have really had very few chances. their goals came largely on our own blunders. so im not going to say that our defense has been bad, per se. because for the most part, we’ve been winning the ball back all over the pitch and forcing them into really awkward situations. but its the ball management along the back line where id like us to be slightly more conservative.

  6. Just woke up on a Sunday morning to 5-3 at 70 minutes.. wtf crazy haha who has impressed? I see vietto scored a brace and yedder just scored

  7. and high pressure wins the ball back and leads to another goal.

    kiyotake! much deserved. he’s been really good all game.

    1. pareja in CB with mercado and mariano on the sides.

      but nzonzi often sitting very far back with them as we play out of the back.

    1. i know what you mean, but that’s not the defense though.

      it wasnt bad defending. it was needlessly risky possession and a bad pass by kiyotake. then gerard just had a really nice play on mercado 1 v 1.

      now pareja calling for a sub. diego gonzalez time.

  8. dammit. bad play there by kiyotake who has been otherwise great. mercado got beat, but that was a nice play by gerard.

  9. 6-4

    I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again

    “being a Sevilla support is NEVER boring”

  10. Lol @we didn’t.

    Well if we score six a game it’d be safe to say we would outscore most teams.

    But Mariano, Pareja, Mercado.. interesting. Can certainly see a few goals against us.. 75% possession though is incredible.

  11. pareja walking off at least… so hopefully just being extra cautious coming back from his injury.

  12. Three Points!

    That match was insane. Gonna take me a while to collect my thoughts on this one.

    Rico comes off the pitch looking frustrated. He probably only had a real chance on 1 or 2 of those… And his distribution was fine today. It was give aways leading to break aways where we got hurt.

    fortunately, those blemishes dont look so bad when you manage to score six of your own… and we could’ve had more had we not hit the post twice as well.

    fun fun fun game. more please!

  13. ps. i love sampaoli’s over the top enthusiasm on the sideline. i hadnt been able to imagine anyone more intense than emery. now i can.

  14. Not bad. The attack and midfield (attacking part) is almost perfect, perhaps playing both Ben Yedder and Vietto was the key to that. However, if we don’t fix the defense soon… we might end up getting damaged a lot.

    However, I can’t remember when I’ve seen Sevilla have this much possession and play so excitingly and attractively for the eye…. this is nothing but Sampaoli’s magical football that we’re witnessing!

    Pareja and Mercado did what they could, but countless errors after, I think they are not the CB’s that are needed for the system, as they both suck at 1v1. They had some good tackling and defending at times… but mostly in was poor man marking and crappy 1v1 defense, especially from Mercado… expected a lot more from the guy.

    I am not sure though that this will be fixed with Carrico and Rami coming back… rather we need a proper 3-5-2 formation, tonight it was a bit improvised with Vitolo as a LM, who served both as winger at times and as full back and LM mostly. This can be fixed with Escudero, but then where do we leave Vitolo? Sarabia also played very very good to be left out. Soon it will be a huge issue to who will start and who will be benched.

    All the other players were great tonight, but of course they all had bad moments like Vietto missing a sitter in the first half, Kiyotake and N’Zonzi with back passing failures, very risky ones etc. (N’Zonzi is also having too much time at the ball, very much that and it often gets risky at our half).

    Kiyotake is a hard-working and clever footballer… while Mudo…. I just hope we won’t sell him for another 2 seasons at least… what a freaking player… oozing class!

    Nevertheless, an important victory and 3 points bagged. I wouldn’t have any issue if we don’t fix the defensive bugs and keep winning at 6-5 6-4… but this will make this system even more tiresome, while teams that can counter properly and have a better attack in overall will destroy us. It’s a kamikaze style of playing.

  15. is caio that type of player? ive never seen him play. is he good at one v. ones and tidy passing/decision making along the back line?

    1. I doubt it. I’ve managed to see Caio in a couple of matches with Brazil NT in Rio, and he is currently playing in the final (ET vs. Germany at 1-1, 117th min). However, in the NT he is playing as CB… but in Sao Paolo he plays as DM and I’ve never seen him play live. From the highlights, he doesn’t look that type of player that we actually need… but he is probably the one with the most potential to progress to that type of player with time. I still think we can also try Carrico as DM just to experiment and see how it goes… maybe he can fit in the system well, although he is not that fast. Cristoforo would’ve been the ideal candidate for the DM spot in this system… though if Sampaoli didn’t want him, then so be it.

  16. Very good match by Sevilla. I am not worried about the defense. Defensive work can be coached. What is independent of a coach is offensive play. That is down to the talented players and it looks like Sevilla got that in abundance now. Next game please…

  17. Couldn’t watch the match (started 0415 here) but sort of expected us to be leaky, I think that the 3-5-2 here should be a formality on paper only, we could start with a basic 4-4-2 and be a 3-5-2 when we attack where mariano can move up to wingback. We need center backs who are suited to this system but I think the first month or so should let the players have a better idea of what is expected of them; defense is about a system instead of individual work and can’t be simply solved with just a world-class signing.

    I looked up vietto’s from his villarreal days and noticed they employed a two striker formation with vietto either playing off his partner or being a target man, I think he best thrives in this situation and ben yedder can provide that foil for him, I didn’t manage to post this as I was out for the whole of yesterday but it was nice that sampaoli set him up with ben yedder; his finishing will improve along with his confidence and game-time. But a quality third striker would definitely be needed if we are to continue with this system.

  18. Where to begin? A lot of strong perfomances, but also a few moments where we failed as a team. I don’t think the defence can be blamed totally for all the goals. Sampaoli knows the risk with this way of playing and I often saw either Nzonzi, Mercado or Pareja looking forward to find an available player, but they just couldn’t find them – this lead to some risky passing which, as we know, ended in a few goals.
    It’s all about finding the balance. I can see why we want to play the ball out of defence and not just play it over the midfield, but sometimes it is necessary. I think, in time, it will be easier for the defenders to find this balance. Even Barcelona sometimes resort to just plunging the ball from defence into the unknown, so no shame in that.
    Often the defence was left to it’s own. At least 3 of Espanyol’s goals was scored after failed passing from the back (Nzonzi, Pareja and Kiyotake) which meant that the defence was caught out of position and facing 3-4 Espanyol-players charging towards them. And that is not easy to defend against. These mistakes happen and they will happen alot in the first few games, but as the defence gets more experience, these mistakes will happen less.

    Which brings me onto the attacking part: WOW. Simple as that. From Mariano and Vitolo on the wing-backs to Ben Yedder and Vietto up front. Did any attacking player play bad? Franco Vazquez is pure quality, Vietto and Ben Yedder showed real potential and Vitolo being Vitolo. But one player that I am developing a new man-crush on is our japanese friend, Kiyotake. I don’t know what it is, but he just seems so confident on the ball. He seems to be everywhere, always wanting the ball and always making the right decisions. Sometimes he tries the winning pass, sometimes he just plays it simple, sometimes he shrugs off three opponents and plays a wide open teammate, sometimes he sets in a perfect tackle. He did give the ball away and Espanyol scored, but I’m just saying that’s because he was tired.

    Great game to watch. Mistakes were made, but scoring 6 goals in the opening of La Liga is something to be proud of.

    1. great summary, and I tend to agree that we will work out how to avoid conceding so easily when possession is turned-over

      Early days, and a lot of hard work ahead, but lots more to be positive about than negative, which is in great contrast to last week 🙂

    2. agreed on all of that niller. although four goals is bad. i wouldnt necessarily call them failures of defense. they were failures of possession and risk taking on the back line.

  19. Congrats for the win.Great post from all here.There isnt much to add.
    I liked that new guys scored,all exept Mercado!!I dont know if that has happen in the past ever!
    I liked coaches passion and bench players reaction after goals,with Iborra first.
    Finally,what i like most,is that players are happy to play this new system and ideas that is so different from past years.Especially last year team looked so confused.I read all the interviews,Vitolo’s is amazing,hope he keeps his promise,and Pareja’s also,who says he has a bitter taste after 4 goals of Espanyol.
    I didnt like Espanyol’s pink socks.What the hell there were thinking? 🙂

    1. Oh man… you also noticed that passion from the bench? It put a wide smile on my face when I saw the guys jumping and feeling as part of the success… you don’t see that very often with other teams… usually it’s some clapping and not so much passion.

      I don’t want to jinx it so early on the season as we might get disappointed along the road… but it is truly a spectacle what this team is showing. QSF (coach of Espanyol) said that Sevilla annihilated us by having up to 7-8 players in our box most of the time. This system is very exciting to watch.

      Also, if Sampaoli wins vs. Villarreal next Sunday, he will automatically be better than Emery’s last season Sevilla on the away form. Let’s wait and see what will happen in the future.

      P.S. Vitolo said that he enjoys playing in that position, as both left back, left midfielder and winger… even though that somehow means that he will not be a clear protagonist in every match as he is not a pure winger like in Emery’s scheme… but rather will also contribute in the defense and the left midfield more. As long as he’s ok with that… that’s good.
      Now of course, the defensive errors will surely be fixed as others mentioned…. and I still stay close to my thinking that if we fix the defense and keep it up like this… we can easily end up in the top 3 of La Liga this season!

      1. haha! so true about beating villareal away! would be amazing if we managed to get a huge away win like that to start the season.

        we are also helped by the fact that midweek Villareal are battling monaco for their champions league lives. that will be tough for them if, after a huge midweek exertion, they need to chase the ball against us as we press down their throats.

        cant wait!!!!

    2. was thinking the same thing. love that iborra launched off the bench to celebrate.

      vietto seemed a bit frustrated to be taken off, no? i was surprised he wasnt more upbeat. he’d clearly had a great day and it seemed more like a “great work son, lets let someone else chase the ball around and play defense” type of substitution.

  20. We have reportedly made a 7 million euros offer to Rennes for the right winger Kamil Grosicki (Poland NT). It seems that we are going for a right winger after all… if it couldn’t be Navas, then perhaps Kamil will come. I am yet to see his highlights and have never seen him play except some glimpses with Poland NT in the Euros (although he didn’t play regularly). He is called the ‘joker’ at Rennes… which can have a lot of meanings in football but for 7m I’d say we sign him!

    1. so crowded though… sarabia was absolutely fantastic yesterday.

      of course, this was one game, but im still slightly more worried about a true destroyer in the midfield.

    2. He was fantastic in the Euros. A very direct winger who created basically everything for Poland. Although he played on the LW for them and honestly, the last thing this team needs is another winger.

      1. Maybe he can be used as a third striker? He resembles MKD a bit… and is offensive minded although a hard worker, maybe he’d fit well who knows.

  21. Look at that! Both of our horrible, not fit for Sevilla’s crest strikers got on the board in their Liga debut. Must have been a miracle! Tune in next week to see if these unworthy misfits surprise everyone and continue to be capable goalscorers as their records, along with every professional in the soccer world, suggest.

    1. very very very true. we’ve been super critical of vietto and he had a great game. he could (perhaps should?) have had a hat trick. his bicycle that was tipped aside by the keeper was spectacular. although two of his other shots (his header goal and the other early clear cut chance he had aside from the bike) were straight at the keeper. but the guy was very involved and had two goals. that means a minimum rating of an 8 for a striker id think. very nice game.

      i didnt notice ben yedder as much throughout the game. of course thats partially because he was withdrawn. and he did well with the overlapping run and calm finish on his goal. so, no criticism, but i didnt see him stand out in the same way that mudo, sarabia, and kiyotake did.

      1. Scoring with 8 players in the opponents box is not a big thing, really. However, it is true that most of us here, logically criticized Vietto for not being of Sevilla’s standard. His brace last night doesn’t mean that he necessarily is, as I’m sure even below average strikers would have excelled with a super-ultra attack like we had last night. Anyway, I still rate Ben Yedder more at this point… his touch of receiving the pass and that cool strike was pure class. He was not much of a protagonist as he played as a second striker, while Vietto did particularly well with the brace (but nothing special still) only because he is more suited to playing with another striker up front, rather than a lone striker. If we would ever switch to a lone striker, Ben Yedder will do way better.

        If we want do play with 2 strikers up front all season, we definitely need a third striker. Mariano of RM was going to be a decent addition, but Zidane said that he will not leave RM (according to sources)… so let’s see what happens.

        Also for the record, Vietto’s record didn’t show that he was a good striker last season, he had only 1 goal in Atletico all season long and was featured in 19 league matches (excluding cups). That’s sub-par, and I’m still reserved about the guy. Let’s see if the system and ultra-attack will work with an ultra-defensive counter-attacking part. We’ve already seen how it went with the top 2 teams… although in neither of those 3 matches we played with 2 strikers… so let’s wait and see, time will tell and nothing is decisive.

        Every comment that we make here regarding a player’s form are momentarily ones…. of course every player might surprise us for the good, hopefully everyone will do that. What we are discussing is logical assumptions based on the moment. If someone can predict the future with 100% certainty, then they’re not human beings… but I’m sure even the mockers are human beings… so we shouldn’t take all the things by heart and try to be super-intelligent with the I TOLD YA! attitude… it’s unnecessary!

      2. wait, i think we’re all agreeing right? i dont think anyone is saying “i told ya”. i was certainly among the people being critical of vietto and, similar to you, remain a bit skeptical until we’ve seen some more games.

        i agree with all your points essentially. at this moment, if we play with a single striker, id probably give first shout to ben yedder. and vietto had a bad season last year (though he was very good the one before that in a system that had two strikers).

        and also, very good point that if we plan to play with three strikers, we’ll need some rotation. if our cantera boys arent up to it, we might need to think seriously about bringing in a 3rd striker.

      3. Yes essentially we’re all agreeing at this point. I was referring to the other member above, who’s last posts consisted nothing but “I TOLD YA” attitude and trying to prove others wrong… when in fact he should’ve been celebrating the win with all of us here.

        But all good anyway.

      4. ha! no worries shendm. who cares?

        his point was true that peoples’ attitudes about the coming season have flow pretty wildly up and down over the last couple weeks.

        in general, i tend to agree and try to moderate my lows of despair as well as the highs of feeling like we’re gonna take a run at la liga. but to each his/her own. i know that you tend to enjoy those swings yourself, so… enjoy! 😉

        but this game yesterday was epic and insane. truly for the ages. and it did give us a lot of solid reason for optimism (as well as some flags for concern)

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