La Liga leaders Sevilla set for testing run of fixtures


Sevilla are back at the top of La Liga ahead of Game Week 14, with holders Barcelona slipping down to second following their late draw with Atletico Madrid.

Pablo Machin’s side secured their return to the summit with a routine 1-0 win over newly promoted Real Valladolid on Sunday.

Their rise to the top caps a run of nine La Liga games, in which they have lost just once, to Barcelona, and beaten Levante, Real Madrid, Eibar, Celta Vigo, Huesca and Espanyol on the way.

However the situation remains tight at the top, with a point between the Andalusian side and Barcelona in second, and two points to Atletico in third.

Machin will have to maintain focus within in his squad, at such an early stage of the season, particularly when faced with the title winning experience of Barcelona, Atletico and Real Madrid.

His Sevilla side are now faced with an imposing set of fixtures and how they approach them will decide if they are still in the title race after the La Liga winter break.

Up next is a trip north to face Alaves, who have been in excellent form so far this season, sitting in fourth place, with an unbeaten home record in 2018-19.

Sevilla then head to the side that took their top four spot last season, Valencia, before a home game against Girona and an away tie at Levante, before the mid season break.

Former Girona boss Machin will also need to balance his squad against the demands of the Europa League and the Copa del Rey during this period, with games against Standard Liege, FK Krasnodar and Villanovense mixed into this tricky run of matches.

Sevilla are the most successful side in the history of the Europa League, but their progression into the last 32 is not yet assured, and they need another win to make sure of it.

In attack, Machin knows that Andre Silva and Wissam Ben Yedder need to maintain their early goal scoring form in the coming weeks, and the improvements in defence in recent matches have solved an issue from the early weeks of the season.

They have conceded just two goals in their last five games in league and cup action, with the return to fitness of Simon Kjaer for the Real Valladolid win, a real boost.

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