Sevilla played host to Villarreal on Sunday afternoon at their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in a top of the table clash between the two sides pushing for European places in La Liga.
A highly-contested affair ended in 4-2 win for Sevilla, who have rounded an impressive performance in front of their own supporters with plenty of goal-scoring opportunities and a turn-over as Emery’s men came from behind to record an fantastic triumph.
Iborra opened the scorings after 23 minutes, but Villarreal managed to score two quick goals through Bakambu to stun the hosts before the interval.
The hosts returned motivated in the second half and their hard work and incredible pressing paid off as Sevilla managed to score three more goals to win their 16th consecutive home win.
Victor Ruiz scored an own goals after 51 minutes, while Konoplyanka’s long-range effort was followed by Reyes’ goal to complete the scoreline in the final moments of the match.
Here are the five talking points from today’s match:
Ever Banega distracted by transfer speculation
The Argentine playmaker has been having a wonderful season with Sevilla which caused plenty of rumours regarding Banega’s future.
The talented midfielder is heading towards the end of his contract and the Italian giants Inter have already made contact with the player during winter and it was reported that a deal has been reached and that Banega accepted Inter’s terms to become a Nerazzurri player at the end of the season when his contract with Sevilla exprires.
However, Sevilla sporting director Monchi has last week revealed that Ever Banega will trigger an automatic contract renewal if he makes another appearance this season, which he did on Saturday against Villarreal.
Banega’s deal is supposed to be automatically prolonged for additional 12 months, but Sevilla are trying to tie their star player for a longer period.
Banega has put in a silent appearance against Villarreal with plenty of misplaced passes towards his players and little involvement in the team’s play. What is more, Banega ended the game prematurely, in the 80th minute of the game when he saw red for a reckless tackle on a Villarreal player, so it is fair to conclude that the Argentine is distracted by transfer speculation.
Villarreal’s defence line fell short
The Yellow Submarine boast impressive defensive record this season.
With four conceded goals at Sevilla, Villarreal’s backline have shipped the total of 23 goals in 29 games so far in the season and Marcelino’s team have the third best defensive record to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid, who have conceded only 12.
Until their visit to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Villarreal conceded only four goals in last 12 games across all competitions, having managed to keep the clean sheet in 9 occasions during that time.
Additionally, Villarreal’s rock-solid defences have helped the team notch five consecutive away draws prior to the Sunday’s match and the 3-2 loss to Sevilla is the first defeat on the road since the beginning of January and their 1-0 Copa del Rey set-back against Athletic Bilbao and the first La Liga away defeat since November 2015.
Sevilla a different team at home
Unai Emery’s men have been putting completely opposite performances home and away this season.
Today’s triumph over Villarreal has been Sevilla’s 16th consecutive triumph in front of their own supporters. Rojiblancos have extended the perfect record that is alive since November in all competitions, and since September in the Spanish league.
Incredibly, Sevilla’s last La Liga home loss was their 2-1 slump on 20 October to Celta Vigo, and Emery’s troops have managed to notch 12 straight league victories since then.
On the other side, Sevilla are yet to record an away triumph in the league this season.
The total of three on-the-road victories were recorded in the Copa del Rey, at UD Logrones, Betis and Mirandes, respectively. Eleven draws and ten losses are not a record worthy of the team fighting for the European places this season, though.
Football case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Sevilla have been inexplicably different at home and away.
Bakambu the bomber
Cedric Bakambu was the most outstanding performer for the visitors at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
The 24-year-old Congo forward has been in scintillating form this season and his brace against Sevilla has been a definite proof to confirm the claim.
Bakambu scored two goals within six minutes in the first half, while he also had a wonderful chance to bag a hat-trick in the closing stages of the game, but was unfortunate enough as his effort was timely blocked by a Carrico.
Villarreal forward scored his tenth La Liga goal of the season, but the 24-year-old Congo international added five more in the Europa League, taking his tally to 15 thus far.
His brilliant efforts were not enough for a notable result against in-form Sevilla, but Bakambu deserves praise for his current form which saw him score four goals in the last two games for his team, as Bakambu scored a brace during last-week’s Europa League victory against Bayer Leverkusen.
Champions League race rekindled?
Sevilla headed into the Villarreal match sitting in fifth place, eight points short of the Yellow Submarine.
Their comprehensive 4-2 win helped them cut the gap to five points after 29 played rounds and Rojiblancos will have been given a timely morale boost in their pursuit of the Champi0ons League slot.
Villarreal have lost two on the bounce and their slip in form will be a warning sign for Marcelino.
Real Madrid have a game in hand and seven points more in the third place and a guaranteed CL spot, but with Sevilla breathing down Villarreal’s neck, the only remaining slot for the Europe’s elite competition will see Marcelino tremble until the end of the campaign.
SEVILLA: Rico 6.5 – Mariano 6.5, Rami 6.5, Carrico 7, Tremoulinas 7.5 – Iborra 7.5 (Escudero 6.5), N’Zonzi 6 (Cristoforo 7) – Krohn-Dehli 7, Banega 5, Konoplyanka 8 (Reyes 7) – Gameiro 8.
Unused subs: Kolodziejczak, Llorente, Munoz, Soria.
VILLARREAL: Areola 6 – Mario Gaspar 6, Bonera 6, Ruiz 5.5, Bailly 6 (Castillejo 6) – Rukavina 7, Pina 6.5, Bruno 6.5, Suarez 7 – Bakambu 8, Adrian 7 (Baptistao 6.5).
Unused subs: Asenjo, Hernandez, Leiva, Marin, Trigueros.
REFEREE: Carlos Velasco
Other results this evening
Levante 1-0 Valencia