The day is upon us. The La Liga powers that be have made us what a fair while – jornada 16 – but the wait is now over and another derbi sevillano is here and ready to explode.
The last time the great eternal rivals squared off against each other was back in April 2014 where Betis went down 2-0 at home; it was the same season Betis were relegated to la segunda. The teams played each other four times that season, twice in the Copa del Rey, as will happen this season after the CdR last 16 draw on Friday. However, unlike the results in 2013/14, there’s a real opportunity for los verdiblancos to put one over their city rivals who haven’t looked brilliant this season, especially away.
Now, I’m going to write this and hope it doesn’t jinx us. The game tonight is at el Benito Villamarín, home of the green and whites. Sevilla haven’t won a single game yet in the league away from home: zero out of seven. To counterbalance this, the home form Betis have shown this season has been nothing short of disastrous: one win in seven. With both teams so out of form in regards to where this game is being played it’s absolutely anyone’s game, as generally are derby games.
Just for the record the la liga form guide shows identical stats apart from the most recent game:
Betis – LWLWDL
Sevilla – LWLWDW
It’s going to depend who wants it more. Which manager can motivate their team, get a performance and get the win? Pepe Mel or Unai Emery? I’ve not ruled out the draw but I can see it being all or nothing for the bragging rights of this most wonderful of cities where almost 50,000 mostly locos de la cabeza sevillanos will be packed into el Villamarín.
Pepe Mel has his whole squad to choose from, which is a very rare occurrence. Good news of course, but now the problem comes in choosing his best 11 and the best formation, which is still ensure, everyone including the manager has a different interpretation.
Adán is back fit as is Vargas, N’Diaye is raring to go, Joaquín and Piccini have recovered from knocks, Ceballos and Bruno are back from suspension, Vadillo is almost completely match fit…there aren’t really many excuses from a selection point of view. It’s all about who is chosen and how they perform tonight.
Unai Emery has a few selection issues of his own. He’s definitely without Beto, Pareja and Andreolli. There are also in-team fighting for a place – Kevin Gameiro or Fernando Llorente up-front? Perhaps even both. Coke or Mariano?Iborra, Krohn-Dehli or N’Zonzi? And will old Sevilla stalwart Jose Antonio Reyes stake a place in the starting team? If Sevilla start with Kolodziejczak, Trémoulinas, Krychowiak and Konoplyanka, it might not be an easy night for those on Twitter.
Around 800 Sevilla fans will be making the famous walk across the city to the Heliopolis region where they will be hoping to see a good old-fashioned, passionate derbi – as will I! Look out for the 45,000 mosaic that will be created just before kick-off to get the atmosphere pumping!The preparation is done, all that’s left now is to perform.
Real Betis vs Sevilla, El Benito Villamarín, 19:30 (GMT) kick off/20:30 (Spanish).
Viva el Betis!