La Liga is Back Baby!
After a three-month layoff from the 2019-2020 La Liga season, Spaniards and those watching all over the world will get a treat by watching one of the greatest derbies in football. The two teams from Sevilla always come prepared for the derby and while this will be unique without the fans, the same passion should show.
Sevilla’s season finds them in the driver’s seat for a Champions League football finish as they sit in third position; however, Real Sociedad, Getafe, and Atlético Madrid are within 2 points of third place. With matches against Barcelona, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Valencia left Sevilla can ill afford to drop points in this match with their city rivals.
Heading into the match, there are lots of questions and very few answers. With a long three-month delay, only 8 full team training sessions, and very little 11v11 sessions, what will the quality of the football be? Will the players be up for the challenge and how can Julen Lopetegui, the Sevilla manager, manage the health of his aging team?
Sevilla’s fullbacks have contributed to one third of the team’s assists and with only one right back on the roster, the thirty-four-year-old, Jesús Navas, will have to be managed carefully. Could the likes of Javier Pérez or Álex Robles make their first team debut during these last 11 matches?
Continuing on the theme of health, Sevilla finds themselves with the possibility of being without two of their star players, as both Suso (1 goal, 1 assist in 6 games) and Lucas Ocampos (10 goals, 2 assists) have picked up injuries in training. Both will be game time decisions.
Another interesting item to keep an eye on is how will the players whose contracts technically expire at the end of June perform. Both Éver Banega (2 goals, 6 assists) and Nolito (3 goals, 1 assists) have expiring contracts and will be counted on to perform well in the last 11 fixtures.
One thing is for certain, football is back! While it will seem a bit different without the fans singing and cheering, the passion that the city of Sevilla has for this game remains the same.