Sevilla will host Atletico at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday at 17:30 CET as the hosts look as serious as ever in contending for the Champions League spots.
One of the oldest Spanish clubs appointed Julen Lopetegui at the helm this summer, hoping to take the next step along with Monchi who returned after a short spell at Roma. The duo wasted no time, signing 13 new players this summer, fully reconstructing the squad.
Despite the big expectations, Lopetegui perhaps exceeded those expectations, leaving his mark on the team early on, and winning some important matches in the process. After the initial success, Sevilla lost two consecutive matches to Real Madrid and Eibar. It looked like Lopetegui’s nightmare from Madrid could repeat once again.
This impression was enhanced when Sevilla entered the Sociedad match – the first after the two consecutive losses – by conceding in the fourth minute. However, the team responded in a spectacular fashion, winning the match 3-1, with Lucas Ocampos, a standout performer this season, scoring one of the goals. From that point on Sevilla is playing in a good form, losing just one out of last five La Liga matches.
Missing the marksman
Julen Lopetegui sets his team up in 4-3-3 formation, with Nolito and Ocampos the most common wingers. The soft belly of the team, however, is the striker position as Luuk de Jong missed tons of chances he should’ve converted this season. Chicharito was given a shot as a striker in the latest draw against Valencia and the Mexican looks serious in contending for the starting position. Sevilla threatens the most through the right side, where Navas and Ocampos combine for one of the most lethal wing attacks in the league.
The last point about Sevilla’s danger on the wing is extremely important for the upcoming match against Atletico.
Arrival of the attacking fullbacks at Wanda
Simeone changed the approach this season, and instead of relying on the low block, he utilized the technical fullbacks in Lodi and Trippier and placed them very high up the pitch. Naturally, this creates certain gaps that not even Koke, Partey, and Saul can cover up all the time. However, a matchday away from home at Sevilla could see Simeone revert back to his old approach, relying on the low block, bursts of pressure in the designated zones, and quick counter-attacks.
Atletico is mightily struggling with efficiency this season. Los Colchoneros scored just 11 goals in the same amount of matches – far too little for Simeone’s league-winning ambitions. Atletico’s struggles enhance away from home, where they only won two out of five, beating Mallorca and Leganes.
Taking into consideration the high spirits in Seville, the injury-riddled Atletico as Joao Felix, Jose Gimenez, and Savic are still out, it’s hard to see Simeone’s men winning this one. Instead, it would be a lot smarter to opt for a low-scoring match.
Simeone is known for entering the derby matches away from home very cautiously, while the hosts showed they can struggle against a low block where they’re expected to create from scratch such as a match against Real Madrid, where Los Blancos took the 1-0 win. To strengthen this case, Atletico saw under 2.5 goals in their away matches 21 out of the last 26 times.
Prediction: Under 2.5 goals. Make sure to bet on La Liga matches with 22Bet!