So… It’s hard to make a strong case for why we should care about this match. We have mathematically clinched a spot in Europa next season. And we have been mathematically eliminated from contention for La Liga’s fourth and final Champions League spot. So why should we care?
Well, its a half-hearted case, but here are a few reasons:
First, finishing the season 5th just feels and sounds much bette than finishing 7th. Villareal can still conceivably pass us and Real Sociedad are even closer. For the image of the club, for recruiting of new players, for attracting TV deals and sponsors the higher the finishing position the better. If Villareal similarly have some preference for finishing above 7th they may be motivated to come at us. They have quality and it could be a good match (to the extent the teams care.
Second, of course the club adds much more to its prestige by winning a European championship. Which is, of course, our one and only priority at this point. Which leads me to point 2. We are likely to see some significant player rotation tonight. Jairo will likely play. And we have a newcomer, Modesto, on the bench. This may be one of the final games Marin plays with this team. Will this lead to him being more motivated to make a positive end of season impression? Or is he checked out from this team, already imagining himself back in London or elsewhere? Oh, and we’ll likely be playing without Rakitic. I hate to say it, but it might be a further preview of how a Sevilla team may look in Rakitic’s absence. On that note, I wish Carlos Fernandez was on the list.
Finally, its worth noting that this team has lots its last two matches 1-3. It will be important to recover some swagger and form before we head to Turin. As Bayern Munich recently showed, often times league form spills over into European competition’s form. So let’s try and get some of that back tonight.
I’m just gonna be lazy and copy eldesmarque’s projected lineup:
Sevilla FC: Beto: Coke, Pareja, Fazio, Alberto Moreno; M’Bia, Carriço; Jairo, Marin, Trochowski; Gameiro.
Suplentes: Javi Varas; Modesto, Fernando Navarro, Rakitic, Vitolo, Reyes, Bacca
I’m not sure I agree 100%. I’d much rather see M’Bia rested. And I thought Carrico was a bit banged up still and would prefer for him to rest as well. And why not let Varas play?
Anyway, even if there isn’t much to actually play for, lets kick their asses just for the fun of it. Plus, everyone coming to the RSP will want to celebrate progression Europa finals and be up for a good spirited celebration.