Julen Lopetegui wants to usher in a new era at Sevilla

Because of their Europa League successes Sevilla are one of the most successful clubs in Europe over the last decade. But there is a feeling that the club have become more of a cup specialist team and less of a league one, and Julen Lopetegui has come in over the past year to try and change that up.

Of course winning cups is a great thing and Sevilla have achieved so much in the modern game winning 5 trophies in the last decade and, according to the official UEFA rankings they are in 9th place. That’s not bad going at all and yet of course they are not seen in same lights as Real Madrid and Barcelona and not even Atletico Madrid.

The reason is that the club do not win league titles- their last one came n 1946 and they haven’t even finished in the runners-up position since 1957. There is also the case of the other European competition, the Champions League where Sevilla have had no significant history. Even Atletico have made it to finals including two recent ones. This year highlighted Sevilla’s miserable run in the Champions League when they were knocked out at the group stages and in one game lost 4-0 at home against Chelsea.

Lopetegui is doing a steady job with Sevilla and in his first season he was able to get them to 4th place with 70 points and therefore qualify for the Champions League. Overall he has a win rate of 57% which is impressive and has lost 14 games from 73 played.

This season the club are in sixth place and are seven points adrift. They have been up and down as they do not draw many games, just 1 so far. Whilst they need to find stability no one can accuse the club of not being entertaining. The problem currently is that no one is sure what Sevilla version will turn up week by week. On their day they are capable of beating any side in La Liga.

Lopetegui has kept the people he knows close to him and that figurehead is the clubs assistant coach Pablo Sanz who used to be a product of the old Academy at Barcelona. When Lopetegui was the coach of the national side Spain, Sanz was his assistant so they know each other very well. He was also the assistant at Real Madrid at Lopetegui’s short spell at Santiago Bernabeu back in 2018.

The objective for the club is to improve each season in the league, the last season saw the club finish 4th so the objective is to finish 3rd and a possible title challenge with 2-3 years although whether that is realistic or not is another story altogether.

However the club have always had some quality within their ranks and below we look at the best 3 players currently playing for the club this season based on fantasy rankings points.

Bono- Goalkeeper

Bono’s value is 6.5m and he currently has the most points of any Sevilla player with 19 so far. Bono’s job is of course to keep clean sheets and he has done so on 3 occasions so far. He is 5th in the goalkeeper rankings for La Liga overall.

Youssef En-Nesyri- Striker

Youssef En Nesyri has scored 3 goals so far but is yet to assist and has 12 points so far. He has only managed to start six games so has a 50% striker rate which is good and his value is 6.5m.

Sergio Escudero- Defender

Sergio Escudero has helped keep 2 clean sheets he has also scored a goal and his value is 6m and so far he has earned 12 points.

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Real Madrid all but surrender late title bid with shock defeat to Girona

Real Madrid v Girona

Last Sunday morning, the Santiago Bernabeu bore witness to what may well have been the end of Real Madrid’s thin hopes of a late La Liga title challenge.

The Spanish giants and current Champions League holders stumbled to a 2-1 defeat to bottom-half side Girona in front of their disillusioned fans.

Girona are enjoying only their third season in the top flight of Spanish football having been promoted to La Liga for the first time in 2016.

Let’s take a look at the fantasy football heroes and zeroes after this surprise win for the Catalonian club.

Sociedad deliver unlikely thrashing over sub-par Girona

januzaj

Our La Liga game of the week sees us take a look back at Real Sociedad’s unlikely 5-0 rout of a Girona side that has otherwise adapted well to life in the top flight of Spanish football.

The two sides came into the tie in startlingly different form, with European football outsiders Girona travelling to a Sociedad side that sat 14th in the table.

However, any expectations that this would be a routine win on their pursuit of European football were dashed in the first half – Sergio Canales’ whipped in-swinger of a cross unintentionally hitting the target in the 11th minute as he himself hit three goals and 34 points for the season.

Sociedad have looked troubled at times this season, delivering inconsistent performances that have seen them occupy an uninspired bottom half of the table for much of the campaign.

However, any suggestions that there might be a re-occurrence of their patchy form was put to bed when Adnan Januzaj doubled the hosts lead on 35 minutes – springing the Girona offside trap before calmly rounding the keeper and slipping the ball into an unguarded net.

The Belgian international is yet to live up to the hype since bursting onto the scenes during the Moyes era but he highlighted what he is capable of at his best here, his goal seeing him earn a spot in our team of the week.

Stung at being two down at the break, Girona new they had to come out fighting in the second half.

However, a goal was not forthcoming and opportunities arose for Sociedad to exploit the spaces left in behind by the visitors.

On 71 minutes, Mikel Ozarzabal more or less put the came to bed – the Girona offside line again being outfoxed as the 20-year-old winger blasted home from a one-on-one situation.

Girona now clearly deflated, the Spaniard took advantage again late on as he once again broke in behind before stoking into an unguarded net following a Bono error.

The demolition finally reached its conclusion, as Juanmi tapped in a fifth in the 88th minute to round off a comprehensive victory for the hosts.

His goal was only his sixth of the campaign, in what was has been a frustrating campaign for the striker.

Putting him on 26 points for the season, he will be hoping it can be the beginning of an end of season bounce in form.

The surprise result saw Sociedad rise to 13th in the table on 37 points, whilst Girona failed to capitalise on Sevilla’s defeat to Celta Vigo and remain eighth in the league.

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La Liga Team of the Week

jordi-alba

Another week of La Liga action has passed by, with many stars delivering first class performances as the battles for European football and survival begin to heat up.

Check out the top point scorers from the latest round of action!

Bono, Girona – 14 points

The Moroccan goalkeeper lands a spot in our XI for the second consecutive week as his side hit a fourth win in the last five games.

His clean sheet in the 2-0 win over La Coruna was his tenth in 20 outings this season as his side continued their pursuit of European football.  Continue reading

La Liga stars of the week

 

ronaldo

In a weekend in which Barcelona took a huge step to words securing the Spanish league title, it is perhaps a surprise that none of their stars were able to work their way into our team of the week. However, a plethora of clean sheets and stand out individual performances from the players of Girona and Sevilla have seen the two clubs dominate the XI. Check out our team of the week here!

Bono, Girona – 14 points

The Moroccan goalkeeper enjoyed a fruitful week for Girona as his side overcame Celta Vigo 1-0 before landing a fine 2-0 victory over high flying Villarreal.

The two clean sheets saw him hit eight in 19 for the season as his side rocket up to seventh position, putting them in a serious shout of securing European football next campaign. Continue reading