A pre-derby look back at the Sevilla FC season so far. Trying to forget that it’s ‘derbi’ week is impossible, I’m
reminded that Palop was in goal and Diego López was on the bench, so even Beto doesn’t know what a Sevilla ‘Home’ derby is. Looking at last week’s team against Espanyol, only Fazio and Rakitic played in the corresponding 5-1 home Derby (anniversary, today 18th November). Now, Javier Tebas who is chief of the Spanish Players Association says that the Sevilla Derby is one of the top 20 football events worldwide (He must be referring to the ‘Home’ derby).
Thirteen league games is about one-third of the season and without doubt the most difficult section of the fixture
list is history. With five defeats, that could translate to approximately 15 for the entire season, one less than
To start my evaluation I’m going to divide those 13 liga games into two pots.
The first five games included some scary opponents like Málaga and Atlético at home, Barcelona, Valencia and
Levante away from home. But the agonizing backdrop was Sevilla’s injury crisis and Sevilla stumbled along and
finished the spell marooned at the bottom with two points.
The next eight liga games took place over 5 weeks and included Real Madrid and Real Sociedad away from home, plus an assortment of more humble opposition such as Celta, Osasuna and Rayo Vallecano at home. But three of those weeks had midweek Europa league games and Sevilla were still short of players. Emery was forced to recruit Sevilla Atlético players to perform basic training simulations.
Sevilla clawed their way back to mid-table respectability without Marin and Cheryshev, Mbia out for six liga
games, Carriço debuted, Reyes played scarcely ten minutes and Vitolo out for three of those league games.
The recovery was tarnished by the bizarre Madrid game, the disappointing home defeat to Celta and two slightly
disappointing Europa League draws. The recovery was embellished by the away victory at Espanyol.
So that is where we are now, performances have been conditioned by the tiredness of players legs and Emery has
been unable to rotate the squad at any time. What impact that will have on the rest of the season is unknown but
Sevilla have another six international players who have not been able to rest during international breaks and news
is that Mbia is limping his way back from Cameroon’s victory over Tunisia.
At this point, the new Sevilla frighten everyone but convince nobody. What is missing is the guaranteed
performance. It’s a team with few guarantees except that so far it concedes two goals per game on average.
Emery is above criticism in all these matters until the circumstance are within his control. His situation is
unique, almost all the work he did last season counts for nothing due to the large-scale exodus of players. He’s
in charge of an entirely different squad now. Which brings me to …The Genius of Monchi
This is his most comprehensive squad to date. For two distinct reasons, firstly the quality and potential are already on display, secondly for the myriad options at the disposal of Emery. You may remember ‘two men down – Sevilla forced to buy again’, it didn’t happen precisely because of the options Emery has to place Carriço in midfield or defence, Mbia in midfield or defence, Iborra in midfield or defence. You may also have noticed that it’s impossible to pin down Jairo and Vitolo who can fulfil a multitude of roles for Emery. This gives Sevilla some insurance cover against mini-injury crises.
In summary, Sevilla march onward into another condensed challenge of 6 games in 21 days. The Derby result will
have staggering consequences to the Sevilla season.