Oooooh boy. Pretty big game today, folks. This game was already big a month ago, when eagle-eyed readers and writers circled the date as a key moment in Sevilla’s struggle for fourth place. I think it’s fair to say the game got even bigger when Valencia failed to beat Rayo, leaving the rivals for fourth even on 69 points. As Rene noted in the comments after the game, Valencia’s draw doesn’t mean we need to beat Real Madrid today; we just have to get a better result (at home) against them than Valencia gets next week at the Bérnabeu.
And here’s the thing. Real Madrid is of course one of the best teams in Europe, and the defending Champions League winners. But at the same time, they’ve often seemed shaky over the last several weeks. They haven’t lost since they played Barcelona more than a month ago, but their form throughout that stretch has been very erratic, even swinging from utter incompetence to deadly efficiency (and back to incompetence) during a single game. They’ll always possess the talent to escape even the ugliest performances with any number of goals against the run of play, so even dominating the game won’t guarantee any points. But then, Sevilla has enough talent to start a fantastic goalscorer (for example) and then bring on a scary good goal threat off the bench. And Vitolo’s back. And presumably Beto won’t be anywhere near our goal (sorry Beto. That was the last one, I promise). There are of course reasons for concern, but I’m not going to be dwelling on them in the hours before this game.
Bottom line: I think we’ll leave this game with points. I truly do. Let’s go get ’em.