Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Match Preview: Sevilla v Villarreal

Villarreal head to the Sánchez Pizjuán this evening knowing that, realistically, anything less than a victory will see their bid for a first Copa Del Rey crown slip away.

Sevilla’s recovery from a 3-1 deficit last week to grab a 3-3 draw has given the holders the upper hand but the result is far from a foregone conclusion.

Sevilla have struggled mightily on home soil this season – Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Espanyol their fourth at home this term. Moreover, even without the injured Nilmar, Villarreal have been in fine scoring form in recent weeks, averaging three goals a game in their last five outings. The visitors’ also have a great record in second-legs having drawn the first-leg at home, winning the tie 43% of the time – including in the only previous meeting of these two sides in the 1998-99 season.

However, there is some cause for optimism amongst Los Rojiblancos in Villarreal’s mounting injury problems. Long term absentees Carlos Marchena, Marcos Senna and Ángel López along with Nilmar are joined by Santi Cazorla for the second straight game. With Bruno also a doubt there will be a great responsibility on the in-form Cani to supply Marco Rubén and Giuseppe Rossi up front. Juan Carlos Garrido is also likely to give youth its chance with Javier Matilla set to deputise for Cazorla and Mario to retain his place ahead of new signing Cicinho at right-back.

The finely balanced nature of the tie also presents Sevilla managers, Gregorio Manzano, with a dilemma. Often when sides only require a draw at home in the second-leg of a two-legged tie there is the temptation to play slightly negatively.

Given Villarreal’s threat on the counter-attack Manzano may be tempted to play a patient, waiting game hoping for the opportunity to spring Jesús Navas and Diego Perotti on the break. Yet, given his leaky defence and the form of Freddie Kanouté and Álvaro Negredo since the return of Navas after the winter break, it is a tactic I would avoid.

For all of Villarreal’s good play in recent weeks their propensity to concede goals has been exposed – they have conceded 11 goals across the same five game period.

Sevilla would be well advised to put their best foot forward to expose the visitors’ weaknesses and return to the Copa Del Rey semi-finals for the fourth time in five years.

Probable Line-ups

Sevilla: Varas, Navarro, Escudé, Alexis, Dabo, Perotti, Romaric, Zokora, Navas, Kanouté, Negredo

Villarreal: Juan Carlos, Oriol, Catalá, Gonzalo, Mario, Cani, Bruno, Borja, Matilla, Marco Rubén, Rossi

No comments:

Post a Comment