Sevilla – Espanyol: Match Preview

It’s been over a month since Sevilla failed to get a result in a match and almost two since we failed to win at home. From the mood around the web and our own commenters, though, you might not infer a recent run of good form. Some players that were expected to outperform themselves from last year haven’t (Gameiro, Vitolo). Others have been slowed in their ascent to becoming our new gems (Kono, Mariano). Others have been overworked (Banega). And still others are suddenly 50 years old (Reyes). So there’s a growing fatigue within the team and without that yearns for consistent, high quality football. Will we find it in 2016? Maybe. 

There was a time when we watched as Valencia booted Emery after only finishing fourth place several years in a row. In his first two seasons with us, we thought they were mad for it. Now though you’d find some calling for his head after only getting us to CL (by adding to our trophy case twice) a year after losing his best playmaker (Rakitic), then failing to get us out of the CL group after losing his best goal scorer (Bacca) and most dynamic winger/supersub (Vidal).

And that brings us to the 15/16 squad, which as usual has new players who need to see the field in order to grow with the team but who also don’t speak a common language and therefore have had a tough time gelling in a cohesive unit (Kono, Nzonzi). I think of Krychowiak in 14/15, who could famously only sort of pronounce the words to the Himno Centenario but played his balls off in every match and won himself a whole city of fans and admirers. Good play, yes, but even more we want good faith efforts given on the field from players new and veteran.

And so after a lengthy introduction I turn to tomorrow when we welcome Espanyol to the RSP. We’ve had some frustrations with this team in the last calendar year (they eliminated us from the Copa), but our boys should be the favorite to take all three points at home. Emery has shown his belief in Nzonzi in midfield despite what many see as underwhelming play. The front four selection is always scrutinized as (1) Gameiro has run his ass off this year without having a huge tally to show for it (7 goals), (2) Llorente isn’t the style of forward for our desired style of play, and (3) the previously mouthwatering duo of Vitolo/Konoplyanka can’t seem to establish themselves as dominant servicemen. 

So we’ll see how the match unfolds tomorrow, but don’t be surprised to read a general malaise underlying many commenters here unless we put on a dominant show. Here’s to hoping we’re due and Espanyol becomes the second Catalan punching bag to enter the RSP this season!