Sevilla Wins! Again!

Sevilla walks away from their clash with Getafe with 3 points and a scoreline that flatters the team and serves as a whitewash over a mostly unconvincing display from the team. Maybe Sevilla wasn’t particularly  convincing, but I think we’ve reached a point where we need actual points, not style points. So, I’ll take the win and be glad we scored some goals.

 

Marcelino stuck with the 4-1-4-1, which when you think about it isn’t really that radical a departure from our normal 4-4-2: Medel always hangs out in front of the back four and behind the midfield waiting for fires to put out or loose balls to pounce on, so the first 4-1 is pretty basic to our shape ever since he arrived. When Kanoute plays up top with Negredo, he tends to sit pretty deep, maybe just a touch in front of the midfield; Rakitic has been known to play this role as well. So the departure today was having Medel to play deep and Rakitic to play higher up while still having Trocho in there. Seemed to work pretty good today, but again, let’s not get carried away by the scoreline: it’s not as if we’ve solved what’s been ailing this team.

 

The most controversial moment of the game happened very early on when in the 6th minute Spahic was beaten by a clever move and through ball, which he recovered from by very obviously reaching out and handling the ball in his own box. The Getafe players nearly stopped playing, so egregious was the foul, but when play continued Sarabia (I think) found himself one-on-one with Varas. He looked like scoring, but something was holding him back: it was Navarro, holding on very tightly. The ref, apparently watching something besides the game (probably old Seinfeld episodes), called neither of these REALLY CLEAR penalties, Varas cleared the ball, and Sevilla was bizarrely saved from what could have been a penalty and red card and should have been at least the former.

 

The team having been thus saved, Sevilla charged forward and looked less frightening in the back if less-than threatening up front. The first half had some bright spots, though: in particular Perotti looked great until an injury required him to step down, Navas continued his slow return to his best form with menacing runs, great passes, and a few decent shots on goal, and Rakitic looked the closest to last season’s fantastic form as I’ve seen this year, showing the vision and touch that made his passes such a delight to behold last year. Coke, playing in place of Caceres also looked really good; as I said in the comments I think we have a very competent replacement for the Uruguayan if the rumors that he’s to be sold are true.

 

So then, the goals: our first came after some great play from Coke and Navas led to a corner. Rakitic sent in a well-placed corner, which Fazio sent to the upper 90 from a diving header. The second came when Manu (playing left wing in place of Perotti) picked up a deflected ball deep in Getafe’s box, took a couple touches away from the goal, and appeared to be looking for the right pass when suddenly he sent an unstoppable shot to the far post. It was just like the highlight reel goals we all saw when we picked up the guy from Getafe this summer. Finally, Kanoute received a ball from Rakitic while half-facing the goal, stood a moment on the ball, and without moving much at all, scored a goal of such sublime quality that you just had to sit back and smile. I’m really going to miss that guy when he’s gone. The goal was Freddi’s third of the season and his 88th career Liga goal for Sevilla. His making 100 before retiring seems less likely now than when he scored his first this season, but maybe they’ll review this one and decide it should count for 2 or 3, and he’ll be just a bit closer.

 

Today’s result moves us up to 5th, 2 points out of CL places. Next week we’ll take on Levante, currently in that last CL spot, so a win will see us take over 4th place. That would be great, obviously, so let’s hope Marcelino gets on that.