In the aftermath of last week’s failure at Mallorca, one particular stat began making the rounds which in retrospect probably should have seemed a prescient and foreboding warning in the face of our unbridled enthusiasm and optimism: Sevilla have managed exactly one away win all season, a 2–0 victory at Depor all the way back in September. Not exactly the kind of stat that portends great things for a mid-table side struggling to find its form. There are probably a lot of interesting theories as to what might be causing this problem away from home (which by the way makes Sevilla the third worst away team in La Liga), but the simple fact is that that kind of away form is likely incompatible with a bid for Europe next season, no matter how many teams above us get disqualified from continental competition. We have eleven more games left this season, five of which are away. We need to find a way to get a sizable portion of those 15 points, or what we do with the remaining six home matches likely won’t matter.
Fortunately, we don’t have to figure any of that out this week, because this weekend we host the humble Tharagothans, themselves struggling mightily to exit the relegation conversation by getting some distance between themselves and suddenly resurgent Mallorca (who, by the way, got their first consecutive win of the season last week when they beat us). They’re currently 2 points out of the relegation zone, and with just 11 games left in the season, they’ll see every game as a huge priority. In this case, I imagine they’ll be very happy to leave the RSP with a point, a result which Sevillistas would rightly see as disastrous. Last week’s loss sees us fall back to 12th, and if we enter the next block of games with less than 38 points, it’s going to be hard for even the most optimistic of us to have any hope for a spot in Europe next season.
The good news is that other than our 3 long-standing injuries and Cicinho (who received his 5th yellow last week), the whole squad is available to Unai, so we should be able to put together a winning side, and then…win. But of course it’s never that simple, so we’ll see how things go. Use the comments section to tell Unai which XI to start, and in what formation, and hopefully on Sunday we’ll find that he’s taken our advice.