There are few more exhilarating sites in Spanish football than the crumbling, cavernous Estadio Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan filled to capacity, with the infectious strains of the home fans chanting “Vamos mi Sevilla, Vamos Campeon” reverberating around the passion-filled arena.
Sadly for Sevilla supporters it looks like they will be waiting a while for their side to be champions of anything again; the exciting, elegant side which won six trophies in the first decade of this century seemingly a distant memory.
Manager Marcelino has attempted to add steel to the Sevilla defence and to that end has achieved a modicum of success, with the side already notching nine clean sheets, more than they managed in the whole of last season .
Their problems have been more in the attacking third of the field. The team for so long a bastion of the 4-4-2 formation has been experimenting with both 4-3-3 and 4-5-1, using Spain striker Alvaro Negredo as the focal point.
However, the statistics show it is yet to pay dividends. Their total of 16 goals from 15 matches is the lowest in the top half of the table, while the man around which their attacking play is centred (Negredo), has netted just once in his last nine games.
In last week’s scrappy defeat at Levante, the former Real Madrid striker looked devoid of confidence and lacking a first touch befitting of supposedly one of the country’s best strikers.
Sevilla have scored in every home game this season, but having watched two of their last three matches, I would not feel confident enough to back anyone with my own money in the goalscorer’s market.
If you are determined to spend some money on the Andalusians, then the best value offered appears to be the 11/4 for Manu de Moral to score at any time.
The diminutive striker has five goals in Sevilla’s last five home games and although he might not start the match, he certainly will be more assured in front of goal than Negredo if he does.
This means that, unsurprisingly, you should invest your money in a Real Madrid player to score and my money is going on Karim Benzema.
The Frenchman will almost certainly start the match, having not featured in the Copa del Rey win over Ponferradina in midweek, and with six goals in his last seven appearances he is in fine goalscoring form.
Having been at the Bernabeu for the Clasico last week, I thought he was one of the few Madrid players who came away from the defeat with any integrity after working exceptionally hard and scoring a poacher’s goal.
He also scored a brilliant and important goal at the Sanchez-Pizjuan last season during a 1-0 cup win for Madrid and you should back him at 7/2 to open the scoring again on Saturday evening.
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