So the third derby game in three weeks takes place in less than three hours, and the anticipation around the city is building once again. After two away games in which we didn’t concede at the Villamarín, a third successful shut out would be enough for us to march on into the next round of the Copa.
We are of course no stranger to two goal first leg leads being overturned when it comes to this fixture. We will always remember the Europa League tie less than 2 year ago (March 2014) when we pulled back a two goal home defeat to take the game to extra time and penalties. Betis supporters will be hoping for a reversal of that same outcome tonight, as they are once again rejuvenated and pumped up after a terrible run of form, including the demoralising first leg against us last week. Hope is what drives the football fan on, what keeps them coming back for more, and this hope is what will no doubt insure a sold out away end this evening, not to mention a great derby atmosphere in front of a capacity crowd.
Another aspect of the sport we all know and love, is that there is rarely no such concept as a sure thing in a derby match, and for Sevilla we have the awkward problem of how to approach this game tonight. Do we go all out for a win, attacking from the off, or do we sit back and try to hold them to a goalless bore draw? I suspect the home supporters, not to mention Unai Emery, will not settle for this approach, and whilst I don’t think we will be in any immediate rush, I expect us to take the game to Betis and score a couple of goals for the record.
No team news at present, although Betis, who just sacked Pepe Mel for the second time in three years, could barely be in more disarray at the moment and will be without the suspended N’Diyae. We are without Coke who is also suspended, so Mariano will be the likely replacement, especially since he was rested at the weekend.
Up front is anyone’s guess, but I think Llorente will start tonight since he didn’t feature much at the weekend. I would prefer Kevin because I suspect this might be the perfect game for the counter attack, but we will have to wait and see. With Immobile being linked heavily with a move to Torino within the next few days I doubt we will see him being risked.
Betis have to attack tonight, they need at least two goals, and I suspect that they’ll get at least one, so I hope we can put the game to bed early on with a few of our own, and keep the nerves to a minimum.
My match prediction:
Sevilla 2 Real Betis 1
Gameiro and Reyes with our goals
What do you reckon?