La Liga match preview: Sevilla vs. Real Madrid

22nd September 2018, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain; La Liga football, Real Madrid versus Espanyol; Julen Lopetegui Coach of Real Madrid watches play (photo by Shot for Press/Action Plus via Getty Images)
22nd September 2018, Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain; La Liga football, Real Madrid versus Espanyol; Julen Lopetegui Coach of Real Madrid watches play (photo by Shot for Press/Action Plus via Getty Images) /
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VALENCIA, – SEPTEMBER 23: Wissam Ben Yedder, forward of Sevilla FC celebrates his goal with his teammateS during the La Liga game between Levante UD and Sevilla FC on September 23, 2018, at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
VALENCIA, – SEPTEMBER 23: Wissam Ben Yedder, forward of Sevilla FC celebrates his goal with his teammateS during the La Liga game between Levante UD and Sevilla FC on September 23, 2018, at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia in Valencia, Spain. (Photo by Carlos Sanchez Martinez/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /

Sevilla Team News

Injuries and Suspensions

Reports suggest that Sevilla will be without the services of Escudero, Mercado, Maxime Gonalons and the new recruit Ibrahim Amadou. These are huge players and Sevilla would miss them for the game against Real Madrid.

Playing XI

Pablo Machin has carried his favored 3-4-3 line-up from Girona to Sevilla, if the earlier games are any indication. The setup is somewhat of a 3-block setup with one block of 3 defenders namely – Simon Kjaer, Sergi Gomez, and Daniel Carrico. The three defenders have seen a lot of the ball and it would be wise to assume that Sevilla is a team that looks to build out of the back. The second block comprises of two wing backs – Jesus Navas and Aleix Vidal and two deep lying playmakers such as Ever Banega or Franco Vazquez or Roque Mesa.

The final block consists of a lone striker which could be Wissam Ben Yedder or Andre Silva supported by Nolito or Pablo Sarabia. It remains to be seen if Pablo Machin will start with 2 attackers up-top or a lone striker against Los Blancos. This impacts the line-up from 3-4-3 to a 3-5-2 with 2 attackers – something he put to play against Levante.

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Tactics

Machin is doing some really good work with Sevilla in improving the attacking structure of the team. One of the most amazing things about Sevilla’s attack is their movement in the final third to overcome press from the opposition defense.

While attacking, Sevilla play with five players stretched out across the opposition defensive lines. Machin makes the full-backs occupy wide areas to stretch the opposition defensive structure and to keep opposing full-backs in check.

This creates space in the middle that can be occupied and exploited by the central attacking midfielders or the lone striker. In case there are no passing lanes through the center, the striker or one of the attacking midfielders would drop deep to draw out defense, which creates space for the full-backs to run into for the long ball.

In defending though, Machin has replicated his model at Girona, if the first few games are any proof. Sevilla, much like Girona last season, defend in a 5-2-3 low block. They look to cut down passing lanes and force their opposition wide. It will be interesting to see how Lopetegui will work is way around Sevilla’s defensive structure whose architect won many plaudits last season with Girona.

Having said all of that, it seems like Lopetegui and his players are going to be tested to their very limits. Real Madrid had their share of problems against Espanyol who defended really well all game. One should expect better work from Sevilla owing to the quality of the players and also because it is Real Madrid.

Stay tuned to The Real Champs for more great Real Madrid coverage!