Match Preview: Sevilla vs Real Madrid – 2021/22
Gameweek 32 in LaLiga Santander as #1 and #3 face off at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Sevilla and Real Madrid lock horns for a second time this season, with the upper hand for LaLiga firmly in Real Madrid’s ownership. Carlo Ancelotti will be best pleased with last week’s sequence of events as his side doubled down on Chelsea at the Bernabeu, escaping from the jaws of defeat.
Sevilla won 4-2 versus Granada last time out but will be pretty gutted with the way the past month or so has gone. Ever since their Europa League elimination, their form has only plummeted. That, coinciding with Barcelona’s rise makes for a very interesting top 3. Julen Lopetegui knows that his team have it in them to reclaim 2nd position, but with Bilbao and Atlético Madrid on the final two matchdays of the season they’ve got to win maximum points on the way there.
What to Expect:
You’d visualise a neat, tidy and sophisticated team when imagining Sevilla. That’s just the image Julen Lopetegui has set of them in these past seasons. Having finished 4th in consecutive seasons before being somewhat of a runaway leader at the beginning of the 21/22 season, their start to this season was pretty beguiling. Not deceptive in all ways, because the Andalusians did play some pretty good football but they never seemed to continue with the same intensity as the season’s gone on.
Continually, as in these past few weeks — the lack of goals has hurt them. While they do tend to dominate most games they play, effectively running the flow of the game playing from one side to another they don’t always create the most clear cut opportunities. That can be a criticism in it’s own right, but Real Madrid need to score tonight and to do so they must take the ball off the Rojiblancos more often. Pressing a team that’s good on the ball, in reasonable measure is key.
Their backline plus goalkeeper as ever, stand out. Going through their list of fixtures one can notice a number of goalless draws. That isn’t to say of course, their goalscoring form has deteriorated as the season’s progressed. Despite boasting the best defence in the league (just 22 GA as compared to Real Madrid’s 26GA), they barely enter the top 6 for goals scored, on par with Valencia’s 44.
Lopetegui is a strict tactician, his team’s are usually very well structured, organised in a mid-low block and spread out across the pitch with aggressive full-back’s and wingers who like to run diagonally. The likes of Diego Carlos, Marcos Acuña and Joules Koundé are exceptional defenders. With Lucas Ocampos and Joan Jordan ahead, Sevilla have hope for spark and quality.
Real Madrid must look to play as vertically as possible, owing to the home team’s expeditiousness at keeping the ball and their tendency to rapidly fall back into shape before pressing in rhythms. Ancelotti’s side will also have to cope without a left-back, and possibly one of the midfield three will be rested. The rest of the lineup will not change. For Sevilla, it’s about picking their moments and causing damage to Madrid where they’re most vulnerable.
A number of absences for Real Madrid. Marcelo and Ferland Mendy both picked up troublesome injuries against Chelsea. This leaves Real Madrid without a left-back but Nacho Fernandez is likely to fill in. Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic remain out while both Jesus Vallejo and Dani Ceballos have tested positive for Covid. Casemiro is suspended. Ancelotti might also want to try Gareth Bale off the substitutes bench once Karim Benzema’s run out of steam.
Former Milan winger Suso is out for Sevilla while veteran defensive midfielder Fernando is also expected to miss the game through injury.
📋 Squad list for Sunday’s match against Sevilla. VAMOS 💪
Players NOT called up:
— Real Madrid News (@onlyrmcfnews) April 16, 2022
Carvajal — Militão — Alaba — Nacho
Modrić — Valverde — Kroos
Rodrygo — Benzema — Vinícius
Navas — Koundé — Carlos — Acuña
Corona — Jordan — Rakitiç
Ocampos — Mir — Gómez
Player to Watch:
Real Madrid: Karim Benzema. Having scored the winner against Chelsea, Benzema showed once again that he doesn’t always need to play exceptionally well to make the difference. Although anyone who enjoys football must love watching him in full flow. Expect the Frenchman to make the difference once again tonight, his partnership with Vinicius and Modrić is crucial to that.
Sevilla FC: Ivan Rakitić. The Croatian has by far been Sevilla’s most influential midfielder this season. His control over the ball combined with his spatial awareness makes him a threat, both for long periods of possession and as a player to play through on the break. Lopetegui will hope, though that he doesn’t have to drop as deep (that lowers his influence). Finding Rakitic in advanced positions will grant him space and freedom to make the difference. He has an eye for goal too.
Real Madrid 1-0 Sevilla.
These contests always tend to be tight affairs, and given Sevilla’s recent goalscoring woes (before scoring 4 against Granada they hadn’t scored more than once for over a month in the league), Real Madrid should be quite confident. A little bit of trickery, and good use of pace and movement in the final third may unlock their defence. Just another game of football that Ancelotti’s men have to get over and done with. Against, of course a strong team.