Two teams with very different indications for what’s a success and what’s not, but both very disappointed with how the season is going so far: Real Madrid, who have already shifted their main focus from the league to other competitions, and Sevilla, not even in the top half of the table.
The big question is how much Jose Mourinho and the players are putting on this match against Sevilla. It’s been about focus and the ability to raise their games in certain moments this season, followed by huge let downs and disappointments in the next match, especially when away from home, like losing to Granada last week while managing only one shot at goal. The players taking interviews are talking about one thing: Sevilla, not Manchester United, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see Mourinho give quite a few players a chance to rest, at least on the bench.
Real Madrid haven’t dropped points at home in 2013, not in the league at least. Big teams like Barcelona and Dortmund have managed to take out the sting from Real at the Santiago Bernabeu, but their ability to play with fluidity and with energy when compared to their away matches is keeping them a manageable distance from second place and Atletico Madrid.
One of the signs that things are going wrong this decision came on September 15, when Real Madrid lost for the second time this season in Sevilla’s high point of the year. It’s a problem when your peak is so early in the season, resulting in a new manager, Unai Emery, who had a great thing going with Valencia before failing at his job in the Russian League. Under Emery, Sevilla have won three matches, drawn twice and lost once, and have climbed to 11th in the La Liga (Sevilla, climbed to 11th?!), putting them only five points outside the top 6 and seven points outside the top 4.
It was a second minute goal by Piotr Trochowski that gave Sevilla the win last time; this time the key men are Jesus Navas, in a horrible season, continuing a year-long goal drought, Alvaro Negredo and Ivan Rakitic, who both scored in their recent win against Rayo.
Predictions – Cristiano Ronaldo’s happy, but it’ll be interesting to see who Mourinho puts in the middle of the park, and how well and energized they look. A bad performance from his midfielders could cause for a complicated day, although it’s still hard to believe they’ll drop points at home.