The Andalusian Derby Sevillano is the most hotly anticipated fixture in the calendar for Sevilla and Real Betis. Los Rojiblancos will play host to their local rivals in a match that will mark a La Liga debut for Sevilla new head coach Vincenzo Montella.
Former AC Milan boss Vincenzo Montella is no stranger to derby matches. Having grown up through feisty fights between Genoa and Sampdoria, one of Italy’s most lethal strikers was the centre of attention in gladiator battles between AS Roma and Lazio, whereas his latest managerial stint threw him in the pit of the eternal rivalry of the city of Milano.
The Italian arrived in Spain with his head held high following the AC Milan sack and is preparing to take full reigns at Rojiblancos with the toughest challenge possible in front of him. Sevilla are currently sitting in fifth spot in La Liga, eight points adrift of their neighbours Real Betis. The forthcoming clash brings more than just bragging rights for the winner but a chance for Sevilla to leapfrog reigning champions Real Madrid – at least until Sunday when Los Blancos play their own match. In case he earns his first notch on the belt, no less than on his Sevilla debut, Montella will be given a slight taste of the Champions League spots – which is exactly where he wants to be come the end of the season. It will be his mountain to climb and he better gear up for it.
Portuguese defender Daniel Carrico and his Argentine partner at the back, Nicolas Parejo, are both ruled out through a thigh and hip injury, respectively. Midfielder Walter Montoya is a major selection doubt due to a groin problem.
More than Rule Supreme for Real Betis
The long-lasting and never-ending rivalry between the two Sevilla’s heavyweights finds Sevilla and Real Betis in contrasting situations. Quique Setien’s men sit in 14th place in the standings, only six points away from the relegation zone and are well aware what the forthcoming match could bring.
It’s never strictly about the points when Real Betis lock horns with Sevilla as fans demand a ‘rule supreme’ that gets them through the night – and a whole year even – but this January edition of the great derby is a fantastic chance for Betis to turn a corner heading into the new year. With only six wins to their name after 17 La Liga rounds and four of last five matches lost, Real Betis head into the Derby Sevillano with not much to show off. As if their current poor form is not enough, the most recent head-to-head history does not suggest this upcoming derby would bring anything good for Real Betis. Los Verdiblancos lost their last five derby matches against Sevilla and last triumphed back in 2014 – in a first leg of the Europa League knockout stages.
Spanish defender Jordi Amat is suspended for the occasion while the visitors will also be without Joel Campbell who is suffering from an ankle injury. Francis Guerrero and Antonio Sanabria are both suffering from a knee problem and will most likely be out of contention.
Sevilla hold a firm upper hand on their city rivals ahead of the Saturday’s big match. Vincenzo Montella boasts a more quality side and a great desire to kick off his Sevilla stint on a high note. Los Rojiblancos are huge favourites to continue their Derby Sevillano dominance.
Top pick: Sevilla to Win to Nil 3.00 (2/1) @188bet
Alternative pick 1: Both teams to score – No 2.40 (7/5) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Over 2.5 goals 2.55 (17/11) @888sport