This weekend’s game was looking extremely interesting for about seven minutes last week while Sevilla played Getafe. Villarreal had lost the day before, and Sevilla was within reach of its first away win in something like 7 years (if memory serves). If that game had ended in the eightieth minute just after Banega scored a fantastic free kick, Sevilla would be hosting Villarreal today knowing that a win would put them within 3 points of a ticket to the Champion’s League, with 9 games to go. As we discussed last week, Villarreal has a tricky run out; if that game had ended in a win, I’d be writing about how important this game is to our Champions League hopes.
We didn’t win, though, and now the game is only a little interesting, and for a much worse reason: suddenly we’re in a three-way race for the two positions (fifth and sixth) that translate to a Europa League spot. Sure, the CdR final (Barca, in the CL, and…us) probably guarantees that seventh place will be good enough for the Europa, but, I mean, this is exactly what I’m talking about! These are the kinds of conversations we have to start having now! Did you miss long drawn-out musings about how, with enough clubs in trouble for financial mismanagement, we could qualify for (and win!) the Europa League from 8th place? Because I did not! But that’s where never winning an away game gets you. It does not get you to working out your odds of a ticket to the Champions if you can beat Villarreal this weekend.
Anyway. Sorry, I’m getting off track. We play Villarreal this weekend. We shat the bed vs. Basel last week, so we kind of need to think about the reverse tie on Thursday. At the same time, though, this game has too much potential to be pivotal in the race for 4th to ignore it. I’m honestly not sure what’s the smarter way to approach this. I eagerly await the wisdom of the commentariat to sort this out. Vamos!