Sevilla @ Girona: Preview and Discussion

Coming off the kind of hard fought draw that has defined this Sevilla squad in Europe over the last decade, we’re headed on a road trip to Girona today. Girona has started off the season well, with a well-played home draw against Atleti and a win over Malaga before losing at San Mames last week. Their back three of Pedro Alcala, Marc Muniesa and former Sevilla Atletico man Bernardo has been rock solid so far. Cristian Stuani, a striker who is the definition of mediocrity, has chipped in a few goals. Borja Garcia and Alex Granell are the two guys to keep an eye on in center midfield.


Berizzo continues his trend of rotating heavily, leaving Nolito (injured), Pizarro (injured), Kjaer, Escudero, Navas and Nico out of the squad. Carole will almost certainly get his first start at LB. The full list is Rico, Soria, Mercado, Corchia, Lenglet, Carrico, Carole, Geis, Nzonzi, Ganso, Banega, Mudo, MKD, Borja Lasso, Sarabia, Montoya, Tucu, Ben Yedder and Muriel. This is the deepest squad we’ve had in forever, and as much of a luxury as that is, I worry that it’s going to create problems with the chemistry of the squad. A lot of the success under Emery came because guys knew their role, knew what their playing time would be, and understood their role within the squad.


One thing is becoming obvious right now. We have too many central midfielders (knocking on wood that we don’t pick up 5 injuries this week). A couple of weeks ago, the assumption was that Pizarro would join Banega and Nzonzi as the third first-choice CM in Berizzo’s 4-3-3. Sarabia’s sudden claim to that 3rd first-choice role has thrown the CM hierachy into flux. Right now the depth chart looks something like this.

1st choice  –    2nd choice  –  3rd choice

Nzonzi       –    Pizarro         –    Geis

Banega      –    MKD            –    Borja Lasso

Sarabia      –    Ganso?        –    Mudo

I think we can all agree that Mudo is too good of a player to be third choice at any position. Given the versatility of most of these guys, we only really need 6 CMs, maybe 7 to cover for a rash of injuries. And there’s not a lot of ways to get these guys on the field in other ways. Both Sarabia and MKD can play on the wing, and Mudo has done it before with less than fantastic results, but the rest of the them are pure CMs. I don’t have any idea how Berizzo is going to keep all these guys happy, but I’m certain at least one of them will leave in January.

How should Berizzo handle this? How would you? Looks like Sarabia is headed back to the wing today

Notable Replies

  1. ShendM says:

    Too many changes for rotation and too many players not even called up. Not very good, but let’s hope it works vs. a hungry Girona away.

  2. Did Girona soak our side of the field? When Montoya made that divet, it looked like it was full of water under the grass.

  3. These unis are so damn sexy. I want one but New Balance in the US doesn’t have them on the website.

  4. Has Montoya done anything at all yet to impress or prove his worth as a starter? Obviously we need to rotate players with such a busy schedule in the next few weeks, but I’d take Mudo or MKD over Montoya based on past performances. Still don’t love Ganso yet but at least he’s popped up to score a couple goals recently so hoping for more of the same.

  5. His work rate is good. He tracks back on defense and actually makes some good runs going forward. Touch tends to let him down.

  6. Great pass by Ganso to Sarabia

  7. Lenglet a stone wall right there. Nice tackle.

  8. Felipe says:

    Really flat first half. Both sides are even. Loads of physical contact hindering passing & ball play. Very few attempts on target & attacking chances in general. We’ll need explosive players like Correa in the 2nd half

  9. Mark_L says:

    As expected. We are toiling here. Missing a few key players and it shows. However, our new look defence has done well. That’s a positive.

    However, we need to show more going forward. Muriel has had nothing to feed on! We need more creativity, we got mudo, Ben yedder, and correa on bench. We got quality on bench to change it up to try and win it!

    At least we level and no damage done. We still got the chance to win but we need to do more in attacking sense and berrizo needs to make changes!

    Big 45 mins ahead! Vamos!

  10. I agree his work rate is good but I’d rather have a midfielder with good touches than a hustler with bad touch against a team like Girona which I thought we’d want to have more attacking options against since the defense of a champs league team should be able to hold it’s own against a newly promoted squad. Also pairing him with Ganso (who is mostly irrelevant so far but will probably score the game winner) doesn’t seem to make for a good combo. Based on that first half I’d be happy if we start launching some long balls for Muriel to run after instead of trying to create opportunities through too slow Ganso or too fast Montoya. Do you guys think that Gansu-Montoya is better than Mudo-MKD in this type of game?

  11. ShendM says:

    Montoya, not contributing anything, not Sevilla material, let alone a starter. Why is Mudo not playing? Understoo he is not 100% match fit, but when is he going to get that match fitness? Last I heard the bench doesn’t provide that.

    Sarabia a bit off… the others so-so, not 100% today. Hopefully we can somehow sneak out a win, but not looking very likely so far with only a header shot on goal by N’Zonzi and a half chance by Sarabia trying to provide for Muriel. Not enough to make something happen.

  12. Finally Muriel!!! Welcome back Mudo what a ball

  13. Brian says:

    How did Pons miss that???

  14. Brian says:

    Mercado on for Montoya. We’re riding our luck here

  15. Ball don’t lie

  16. Lol Mercado stop doing that shit

  17. Mark_L says:

    Yessss!!! So happy with that! Massive win for the team, as we were without key players!

    Thank god, the penalty was not converted! Awful decision from the ref!

  18. ShendM says:

    Cheating cunts… tried to sneak out a draw in a dishonest way, the Gods of football wanted us to win today and that’s all!

    However, not very good that we’re heavily relying on luck lately. We need to finish business sooner, especially when the opponent is not much of a threat.

    Golden 3 points today. Montoya should definitely not start again and as jolazo said, only a late sub at best. We almost conceded twice (free kick and that Lenglet deflection) due to a poor communication-connectivity of Montoya with Corchia. Also Martin was out of fuel since the 60th minute or so, yet still made it to the 75th minute surprisingly. Berizzo sniffed that irregularity and with Mercado on things were calmer. It could’ve been too late though, so hopefully Berizzo is taking good notes on this.

    Christmas Carole was good, although needs more time to adapt as he had some communication issues at the end, but still looked quite solid both going forward and defending. He is agile, fast and positions well, while also fights for the ball. Could be an improved version of Mercado with more adaptability. Needs to work on the crosses though… a lot.

    Muriel finally got his well deserved goal… great pass by Mudo who made an impact immediately, missed those through passes from him, what a joy. Muriel was also making a gesture while celebrating, something like removing the ‘bad luck’ out of him, and now that he broke the ice, expecting way more goals from the Colombian. Both of the free kicks that he took were also quite nice.

    As for the penalty… not in a million years, an indirect free-kick in the box at best, never a penalty.

    The referee was not bad in overall bar that mistake that almost cost us 2 points.

    Now on to beat the hell out of Vitolo’s squad. Bring it on Las Palmas!


  19. I think Monchi’s Men should send the goal post a thank you letter or this week could’ve seen us lose to Liverpool and tie against Gerona (though in reality we could easily have lost today without them needing a terrible PK call).

    Very happy with 10 out of 12 points in Liga having a slow Ganso, overwhelmed Borja Lasso and poor touch Montoya seeing action as starters and Muriel taking time to score. Though it’s early, Christmas Carole looks like a solid addition to the squad and Mudo showing his class with that through ball to Muriel. Hopefully he can become a regular part of the squad again and gain more consistency than last year when he started strong and then faded. Expecting a win on Wednesday in a boiling Pizjuan before our trip to Atleti where a draw would suffice (based on how we played today).

  20. Mark_L says:

    We dominated the stats. We had 13 shots with 8 on target. They had 13 shots and 0 on target!

    Therefore, we were more clinical but they did miss a few great chances. We deserved to win and with all the changes, it’s a great result.

    Was impressed with how our new look back line did today. Never played together before but did well.

    Lots hope we get the rest of the squad back now! Big chance to remain at the top with a winnable home game against las palmas!

    Plus first time we took 10 points out of 12 for ages. Berizzo has made a great start. We carried some luck, but we have advanced in champions league qualifier, drew at Liverpool and won 3 and drew 1 in league. Plus we only conceded 1 goal in the league! Long may it continue!

  21. ShendM says:

  22. #Sevilla are unbeaten for their first seven matches in a season since 2008/09.

    — Fútbol de Andalucía (@FutbolAlAndalus) September 17, 2017
  23. I was at the coast but managed to see the game, and now the recording.

    We were a bit poor in some areas, Carole looks tremendous going forward, but didn’t function well defensively, well it was his first game so he can only improve.

    We failed to control the midfield or boss it in any way, so that limited what we produced in attack. But even with a good midfield, both wings were like sieves for Girona to progress along.

    Banega had some great touches but they didn’t lead to anything, while Ganso was disappointing but at the same time one of his great passes could have made the difference. This time nothing.

    But Mudo did the job just a few minutes after coming on. That will give Muriel more confidence. Corchia, surprisingly like a fish out of water. We need to find the right position of Sarabia and stop experimenting with him.

    Above all, the 8 changes to starting 11 were the problem, it’s too many. I’m also worried that this will be an ongoing scenario, though Nzonzi doesn’t get rotated. well maybe he’ll get a rest in the copa del rey and also when he reaches 5 yellows.

  24. ShendM says:

    We simply didn’t have pure wingers vs. Girona until Correa came in. Sarabia was playing more in the midfield and couldn’t cut through the flank, while Montoya was more focused on tracking the players than doing anything in the attack. Corchia also had to defend more and the lack of proper communication with Montoya made him also look bad, though he could’ve performed way better with that being said.

    Agreed on too many changes. We were quite lucky to get out with full 3 points. Why doesn’t Atletico rotate heavily… or why didn’t they do so in their historic 2013-14 season? It’s not that they didn’t have proper subs, but rotating too much simply doesn’t work. Barca always learns that the hard way, and Atletico on the other hand knows how it’s done… or RM.

    If we’d had clones for each of the first team’ers, then it would be alright, but the difference on level between the rotating players is often immense, like Montoya vs. Navas… or Ganso vs. Banega… or similar.

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