On the pre-season pod, when discussing La Liga, I tipped our listeners to put some money on Sevilla et each way for the title. In betting terms, you’re putting half your money on them finishing 1st and half on them finishing 2nd. Currently, they’re sitting at joint second with Barcelona, and whilst you wouldn’t bet your mortgage on them finishing above the 2 best team in Europe, they’re certainly this season’s surprise title contenders. Following 3 successive Europa League trophies, why has it gone so well at and are now aiming to be crowned league champions for the first time since 1945/46?
They have bolstered their midfield with the signing of Walter Montoya from Rosario Central.The 23-year-old has signed a four-and-a-half-year contract with the club, who are eager to overhaul Real Madrid’s four-point lead in the Spanish top flight while also competing in the Champions League. Steven N’Zonzi has also signed a new contract that will keep him at Sevilla until the summer of 2020
Sampaoli recently stated: “To say that we are going to fight for La Liga is not a dream, it’s a reality.” Confidence in the Sevilla camp has been soaring since the team’s 2-1 home triumph over Madrid earlier this month — a result that brought an end to their opponents’ Spanish record 40-game unbeaten run in all competitions. Sampaoli was already a respected coach in South America before he replaced Unai Emery at the helm of Sevilla last summer. He led Chile’s national team into the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup, where they only exited after losing on penalties to hosts Brazil. However, one year later Sampaoli steered Chile past his native Argentina in the final of the Copa America.
Stevan Jovetic is on loan from Inter Milan until the end of the season- and what a temporary addition that might turn out to be. The former Manchester City striker, who hasn’t played since November, has already bagged a couple against Real Madrid. He will be right at home with Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan because Samir Nasri, Franco Vazquez and Steven N’Zonzi. Players whose careers looked all but over at the highest level.
They’ve also got their keeper Sergio Rico to thank, with more saves to his name than any of his rival stoppers. It’s also key to note that the team from Andalusia have also been reprimanded by referees more than the other three clubs.
Last, but certainly not least, top scorer and summer signing Wissam Ben Yedder not least for the hat-trick against David Moyes’ former club Real Sociedad earlier this month
My main worry is experience. The old cliché about having that know-how to deal with the pressure at the top. At the weekend just gone, Sevilla never fully recovered from the shock of losing their captain just two minutes into their clash with mid-table Espanyol, eventually slumping to defeat. I just hope for the sake of some competition in La-liga, that defeat will be nothing more than a minor blip, in what has been a fantastic first half of the season for Sevilla.
Up next is Villareal in 6th place.