Friday, March 1, 2024

Prediction: Sevilla vs Alaves

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: BetUS

Sevilla will be looking to secure only their fourth La Liga victory of the 2023-24 season when they host Alaves at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Friday night.

Sevilla have gone through severe difficulties this season, earning just 16 points from 19 matches, placing them in 16th position in the table. Meanwhile, Alaves sit in 15th place with 17 points from their opening 19 games. Both teams obviously find themselves in a precarious position at this stage, dangerously close to the bottom three in the league standings.

Sevilla

Struggles are unfortunately a familiar territory for Sevilla these days. Having finished 12th in the La Liga standings last term, they were widely expected to bounce back and fight for top-four placement again, but as things stand at the moment, they’ve actually done worse. Sitting 16th in the table, the club has already parted ways with two head coaches in 2023/24, namely Jose Luis Mendilibar and Diego Alonso.

In mid-December, they appointed Quique Sanchez Flores and his first game in charge provided a bit of hope – only 24 hours later, he led his team to an impressive victory away to Granada. However, since then, Sevilla lost consecutive league matches to Atletico Madrid and Athletic Bilbao, before moving past Racing Ferrol to reach the Copa del Rey round of 16.

The danger of relegation seems quite realistic for the seven-time Europa League/UEFA Cup winners. One point separates them from the red zone, with only Celta Vigo standing between them and 18th-place Cadiz. There’s no hiding from the fact that this team is a far cry from the one that finished fourth in three of the last four seasons in the Spanish top flight.

Team News

Sevilla has faced a significant blow with a series of injuries in recent weeks.

Nemanja Gudelj, Dodi Lukebakio, Mariano Diaz, and Alfonso Pastor are confirmed absentees. Additionally, there are notable uncertainties surrounding the availability of Jesus Navas, Joan Jordan, Marcos Acuna, Erik Lamela, and Orjan Nyland.

Youssef En-Nesyri will also be unavailable as he is set to represent Morocco at the African Cup of Nations. Consequently, Rafa Mir and Lucas Ocampos could be deployed in the attacking third, a scenario witnessed in the recent Copa del Rey clash against Racing Ferrol.

Alaves

Sitting just above Sevilla in the standings at 15th place, Alaves hold a record of four wins, five draws, and 10 defeats from 19 matches, accumulating 17 points.

Scoring has posed a significant challenge for the Basque team this season, managing only 15 goals in La Liga, the second-lowest tally behind Cadiz (14). However, defensively, they’ve been relatively solid, conceding 25 times, a commendable achievement considering their position in the table. Having earned promotion through the Segunda Division playoffs last season, any standing above the relegation zone would be considered a successful campaign for Alaves.

Luis Garcia’s squad head into this fixture on the heels of a 1-0 triumph over Real Betis in the Copa del Rey round of 32. Their recent league performance saw them secure a 1-1 draw against Real Sociedad away, a fine result to mark a positive start to 2024.

Furthermore, Alaves boast an undefeated streak in their last three encounters with Sevilla in the top-flight, including a thrilling 4-3 victory in the reverse fixture earlier this season.

Team News

Jon Guridi and Aleksandar Sedlar are ruled out of the upcoming match due to injuries. Additionally, Abdel Abqar, like Sevilla’s En-Nesyri, will be absent as he heads to the Africa Cup of Nations with Morocco.

Giuliano Simeone, the on-loan Atletico Madrid forward, has successfully recovered from a significant ankle issue, making appearances in the team’s recent two matches. It is anticipated that he will once again be included in the squad, likely coming off the bench.

Expect alterations from the lineup that faced Real Betis in the Copa del Rey, with Andoni Gorosabel, Antonio Blanco, and Samu Omorodion among those possibly to return to the starting XI. Rafa Marin, the on-loan Real Madrid centre-back, is expected to overcome a knock and play a role at the back.

Conclusion

Not to put too fine a point on it, this is exactly the type of games Sevilla desperately need to be winning to even think about getting out of their current predicament. Their home record of 10 points from as many matches is far from encouraging, though it should be said that Alaves have struggled notably more away from home this term, securing just four points from 10 matches on the road.

A narrow but crucial victory for Sanchez Flores and his men is likely on the cards.

Verdict: Home win

Best odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: BetUS

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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