Fresh from the heavy defeats to El Clasico rivals, Sevilla and Celta Vigo battle it out at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan looking for some much needed points that would improve their league positions. And while los Rojiblancos are searching for their fifth straight victory on home soil, the Sky Blues will be hoping for more of the same after hammering Malaga 5-0 in their previous away fixture.
Rakitic leads the way
At the time when the club were in serious financial difficulties and key players were leaving Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan for greener pastures, Ivan Rakitic also had plenty of chances to quit Sevilla, but opted against abandoning the ship and that has made all the difference for los Rojiblancos this term. While the club did sign some very good players to replace the likes of Negredo, Navas, Kondogbia and Medel, it was the Croatian midfielder who has almost single handedly brought his team some precious points. His two goals were not enough for Sevilla to shock Real Madrid at the Bernabeu, but Unai Emery’s side can be proud of their performance against los Blancos even if they ended up conceding seven goals. Having long ago turned their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan into a real fortress and given the four straight victories on home soil, everything suggests that Sevilla will quickly return to winning ways and continue climbing La Liga standings. If we disregard the Real Madrid defeat, team’s previous matches have shown Unai Emery has managed to find the right balance in the side and this will be a great opportunity for the hosts to close the gap behind their rivals for European positions.
Stephane M’Bia is available for selection despite seeing red against Real, but Marko Marin, Federico Fazio, Piotr Trochowski and Denis Cheryshev continue to miss out.
Can 5-0 win be one-off result?
Many were surprised to see Celta Vigo appoint inexperienced Luis Enrique this summer when it was clear the team needed a seasoned tactician to make sure they improve on last season’s narrow escape. Even if the Sky Blues opened their campaign with home draw against Espanyol and away victory over Real Betis, things quickly started taking a turn for the worse. The team could only pick up two points from next seven league fixtures, losing four matches on the bounce, but they then shocked everyone to record a 5-0 triumph at Malaga. And while the Sky Blues cannot be criticized too much for the 3-0 home loss to Barcelona, it does appear that the Malaga game was an exception to the rule rather than the other way around. Celta have been utterly disappointing despite almost exclusively facing bottom-table sides in the opening exchanges, and one impressive performance is not enough to make us believe they have what it takes to upset Sevilla at their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Michael Krohn-Dehli and Carlos Bellvis could play some part after recovering from injury, but Ion Aurtenetxe is set to miss at least two weeks of action. Samuel Llorca and Mario Bermejo are long-term casualties.
Sevilla have shown a great deal of potential so far and their impressive home displays are enough to suggest Celta Vigo will be in for another difficult night on the road. While impressing against Malaga, the Sky Blues have been well below par most of the time and I just cannot see them getting something from Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
Top pick: Home win 1.57 (4/7) @ Ladbrokes
Alternative pick 1: Sevilla/Sevilla 2.45 (29/20) @ Coral
Alternative pick 2: Sevilla to win to nil 3.20 (11/5) @ Coral