This threatened to be a title match two months ago. Now it doesn’t give much, but it retains an extraordinary importance. For Madrid it is almost a final point if they win and a point and followed if they don’t. Barça has put a large part of its remote hopes for winning the League in the duel. Also for Sevilla it is a very important step in their goal of reaching the last great challenge of the season: ensure a Champions League that is now seriously threatened, with Betis in the middle. And in the center is the figure of Lopetegui, whose jump from the National Team to Madrid ended up being a leap into the void: only 14 games with the worst ratio of his career (1.43 points per game). That was more than three years ago and Sevilla have more than compensated him (Follow today’s match live on As.com).
Month after month everything has been spoiling in the Andalusian team. First came dozens of muscle injuries, a matter still under investigation at the club. Then, the elimination in the group stage of the Champions League. Later, the goodbye to the Cup against Betis. In January he lost his three Moroccans (Bono, En Nesyri and Munir), called to the African Cup. In March he suffered an unexpected skid against West Ham in the Europa League, a competition whose final is scheduled at the Sánchez Pizjuán. And finally, with a victory in the last five games, a loss of the advantage they enjoyed in the League. Nor has the winter market relieved him. Martial, the great bet, does not work: one goal in ten games and an indisputable lack of adaptation. Tecatito, with a better performance, has not made his debut as a scorer.
An armored team
The story seems to point to a failed season, but the truth is that Sevilla, in domestic competition, have only lost three games, all away from home, and two of them against Barça and Madrid. Only Lille, in the Champions League, has been able to win at the Sánchez Pizjuán. And at this point it appears as the team that concedes the fewest goals in the League (22). His goalkeeper Bono has kept a clean sheet fifteen times during the course.
In the rear is their fort. Koundé and Diego Carlos, the centre-backs, are by far the best-performing players in the squad, according to Olocip’s artificial intelligence data. The loss of the Brazilian in the two games with West Ham was decisive. Both are in the prime of their careers. He lost the third man, Fernando, due to an ankle injury for which he underwent surgery at the end of March.
For this duel he hopes to recover footballers. Fernando’s natural substitute, Delaneyinjured with his team, arrives very fair and does not point to the eleven. Gudelj or Papu Gómez are the conservative and daring options, respectively. Acuña, absent in the last four games, has more options to be out but far from his maximum.
Madrid lives less comfortable in the League after the resounding defeat in the Classic and bring on Tuesday’s European thrashing and some kick in his game. That extreme effort that Ancelotti has concentrated on very few players, however, has no statistical reflection. The white team has scored twice as many goals in the second half and almost a third of all the goals scored in the competition came in the last quarter of an hour. No other team is as effective in that stretch. And it arrives with Benzema, who trained normally since Thursday, fired. He has scored in eight of his last nine games and has 14 goals in the last two months. Rafa Mir, Sevilla’s top scorer, has 12 throughout the course. The Frenchman is in the average goal per game for the first time in his career.
Viniciuswith ups and downs, also offers spectacular figures. Between goals and assists, he appears in 30 of Madrid’s goals this season. Courtois is confirmed as the most reliable goalkeeper of the title candidates (82 saves, 0.9 goals conceded per game). And Modric, who covered almost 14 kilometers in the duel against Chelsea, presents his best record of assists (9) since he arrived at Madrid. He has already played 42 games on the course, a figure that he exceeded in the previous six seasons, without a drop in performance. The Bernabéu was at his feet on Tuesday. Madrid will rest in Seville on these four footballers. Nacho will be a left-back against the losses of Mendy and Marcelo and Valverde will take the place of the sanctioned Casemiro. Camavinga is expected during the clash and Rodrygo could return to the band. Militao also returns to strengthen a defense that was left out in the Champions duel.
Sevilla has left a message about arbitration in the previous hours: “I am very concerned about the criteria. I hope that it is the players who decide the matches, not the referees,” warned the club’s president, José Castro. Only Elche have been awarded fewer penalties in favor than Sevilla. Madrid, at the bottom last year in this chapter, is now in the lead, with ten maximum penalties, but it has fared worse with Cuadra, the referee, than Sevilla. That’s also where the temperature of a clash that in recent times has been very favorable to the leader rises: 16 points out of 18 have been added in the six most recent clashes.