Five reasons why sleeping giants Sevilla are ready to wake and win La Liga
Holly Thackeray | 29 October 2016
Sensational Sevilla to win La Liga odds worth a shout
You have to go back to 1946 for the last time Sevillistas celebrated being crowned champions of Spain. Last weekend, however, the Andalusian outfit briefly topped La Liga before title rivals Real Madrid nipped a point ahead with a narrow victory over Athletic Bilbao.
Sevilla as Real’s title rivals? Well, yes. Jorge Sampaoli’s side have been strutting their stuff sensationally in Spain and deservedly sit second in the top tier.
It’s a long, hot season out there in Iberia, in a league where Barcelona and Los Blancos of course have a silverware stranglehold. But the Bathtubs seem to have something special.
Nobody believed Leicester City would win the Premier League, so Sevilla to win La Liga odds certainly seem a shout at a super value 150/1 chance with Coral.
Of course that price reflects their outsider status but, in a league season which looks the most open for a long time, that is why that price could prove so profitable.
So, get back on the underdog bandwagon with us, as Coral experts present five compelling reasons Sevilla are sleeping giants ready to wake and win La Liga…
Overtaking Atleti as the outsider
It’s still early in the season but already Sevilla are even-money for a top four finish so, when a pound for title success can reap rewards of £150, what’s not to like?
Atletico Madrid have recently been the anti-heroes, dark horses and tonic to Real and Barcelona’s endless battle. But the 6/1 La Liga hopefuls are currently fifth, albeit only three points from the summit, after Sevilla beat them at their own game by sinking the capital club 1-0.
Nine different teams have been crowned Spanish top-flight champions before, but over the last decade only Atletico’s sole triumph against the odds in 2014 has broken up Barca and Real Madrid’s monopoly.
Before that, Valencia had a good go of making it a three-way dance in the early 2000s, while Deportivo de La Coruna also grabbed a moment of glory as the new Millennium dawned.
Can now be Sevilla’s time in the sun? Atleti coach Diego Simeone certainly seems to thinks so, as he told press: “I see Sevilla, along with ourselves, in the teams who are trying to compete against Real Madrid and Barcelona.
“Sevilla are growing every year, winning trophies, and have had an exciting start to the season.”
New boys settled in Seville
While winning a league title is a case of playing the long game across a campaign of ups and downs, it’s good to get a head start and be front of the chasing pack.
Sevilla have positioned themselves well and, arguably, Sampaoli’s new arrivals haven’t even fully gelled as a unit yet.
This is where Atletico, usually such savvy spenders and on top of transfers, may have handed initiative to their opposition.
In summer, Los Rojiblancos swooped for Vicente Calderon outcasts and Argentine duo Luciano Vietto and Matias Kranevitter for modest loan fees, and both have hit the ground running with 13 and seven appearances respectively across all competitions.
With a goal difference of just five in La Liga it is Vietto’s contribution, rather than Kranevitter’s, who is being moulded as a long-term Argentina replacement for Javier Mascherano, which could be most crucial.
Can the former Villarreal forward replicate his Yellow Submarine form? And replace to the goals of Atleti-poached Kevin Gameiro and before that Carlos Bacca? He’s a way to go but three goals and two assists in the league is a good start.
Sevilla had a busy summer of spending to replace the spine of Gameiro, Ever Banega, Grzegorz Krychowiak and co with Samir Nasri, Franco Vazquez, Ganso, Hiroshi Kiyotake and Wissam Ben Yedder among some truly eye-catching attacking arrivals – giving the Andalusians depth in dangerous positions. Resisting Everton’s approach for their head of recruitment appears to have paid dividends.
Sampaoli on way to solving roadtrip woes
Key to La Liga success and in Europe has been Sevilla’s ability to keep it tight at the back and grind out 1-0 results, with play generally tighter than last term bar the odd anomaly.
And it is this resilience that finally put to an end the Bathtubs’ awful away form – a road sickness that has been blamed for poor domestic returns.
It’s not hard to see why, as Sevilla failed to win a single La Liga road-trip last term. While, they enjoyed only five of their away days across all competitions too.
Clearly this had to stop and the Bathtubs brought that Liga curse to an end with a thrilling 3-2 triumph over minnows Leganes earlier this month.
Excluding the European Super Cup and Spanish Super Cup glamour games, the Sevillistas have lost only one away game this season so far, at the hostile San Mames, while taking an impressive Champions League group point against Juventus in Turin too.
Home comforts provide a Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan reprieve
Home form and fans have long been a 12th man for Sevilla, and that has only been heightened recently with Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan a real fortress.
Despite visits from the likes of Atleti and Lyon, a Spanish Super Cup loss to Barca is their sole on home soil this season. Crucially, in La Liga, it has been a perfect five out of five for home wins – title winning form.
Maintaining that defiance in the face of visits from Barcelona and Real that are yet to come will be something else entirely, but both were beaten in Seville last season. While, those teams will be happy to also take chunks out of each other, leaving Sevilla to focus on the smaller fry.
Emery exit has allowed evolution
Argentine tactician Sampaoli, considered to be a leaf from the same tree as maverick compatriot and fellow former Chile boss Marcelo Bielsa, deserves much credit for keeping up Sevilla’s winning momentum when many believed the departure of Unai Emery to PSG marked the end of an era.
But, instead of a blow, did successive Europa League-winning coach Emery’s exit actually allow Sevilla to evolve? The Bathtubs have seen top stars stream away after any success, coaches included, but the Spanish club’s hierarchy has consistently got its recruitment policy correct.
Sampaoli is the latest shining star and, with Emery having steered the Sevilla ship as far as it seemed possible, turning the page has turned out to be an inspired idea.
With his electric wing back roles and the ability to switch between 3-4-3 or 4-1-4-1 formations to suit opponents, the Bathtubs look refreshed and full of new ideas. The optimism may be built on Emery’s spine and base but the Spaniard couldn’t posit a solution to league woes, despite continental cups, with Sevilla seventh last season.
Other tactical tweaks have included Nasri in a deeper conducting role at times, and the Frenchman is so far thriving with Sampaoli’s arm around his shoulders. Now, can that evolution go the distance?
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