21:30 BST, Saturday 28th October, Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium (Seville, Spain)
In a game where the intense heat of Seville has resulted in a delayed evening kick-off, the pressure is beginning to build on Eduardo Berizzo. After a 4th place finish last season, Sevilla currently sit 9th in the table following two league straight losses and a 5-1 humiliation at the hands of Spartak Moscow.
Leganes, on the other hand, have had a wonderful start to the season. Occupying 5th position, they are putting to bed any thoughts of a second-season syndrome. Unbeaten in their last 6 games, the slightly-less celebrated of the Madrid based teams will face a true test of their credentials in Seville.
Last Time Out
Valencia 4-0 Sevilla (La Liga)
Sevilla suffered a real drubbing at the hands of a rampant Valencia side. The brilliance of Goncalo Guedes proved too much for a shaky defence.
They can take some encouragement from the amount of chances created, matching their opponents’ 18 shots. Dire finishing in front of goal, though, must be amended if they are to get back on track on Saturday.
Leganes 1-0 Athletic Bilbao (La Liga)
A very solid home win against Bilbao provided further evidence that Leganes are to be taken more seriously as at least top half candidates this season. Los Legionarios were particularly impressive going forward and Claudio Beauvue took his chance well.
Despite being dominated possession-wise, Leganes prevented limited the number of genuine chances for the opposition and looked superior themselves in attack.
Centre backs Daniel Carrico and Nicolas Pareja remain injury doubts. Steven N’Zonzi’s ankle sprain also makes him unlikely to start. Luis Muriel will hope to keep his starting place but he could be replaced by Wissam Ben Yedder.
Keeper Jon Ander Serantes remains a long-term injury absence. Centre back Ezequiel Munoz and Winger Omar are also injury doubts.
Key Battle: Luis Muriel (Sevilla) vs Dimitrios Siovas (Leganes)
The 26-year-old Colombian has had a mixed start to the season for new club Sevilla after an £18 million move from Sampdoria. Even in last season’s pomp, Sevilla lacked a consistent finisher as their top scorer, Ben Yedder, scored only 11 league goals. Muriel must step up and start providing his team with a reliable source of goals which could be the difference between Champions League football and not.
The performances of Leganes’ Dimitrios Siovas have stood out in a defence which has not conceded in the last 5 league matches. His aerial dominance sets the standards for those around him and provides Leganes with a solid platform from which to attack. He is beginning to look settled at this level and should play a key role in keeping out the Sevilla forwards.
Will Sevilla bounce back from heavy defeats?
Despite recent form, Sevilla are only 3 points off the 4th place position which will be their ultimate aim this season. In fact, they have only lost 3 league games all season, including 2 matches against Atletico and Valencia respectively. The nature of the defeats against Spartak and Valencia are concerning though, particularly as the conceded 9 goals in those two games. It won’t take much for Sevilla to return closer to the top of the table but they will have to show strength to shrug off such devastating losses.
Are Leganes the real deal?
The unexpected survival story of last season, Leganes were rightly celebrated. This season, though, should still be about survival. On recent showing, the defensive platform being set should be enough to secure another season in the top flight. Starting the season in such a manner will inevitably lead to fans dreaming of European qualification. This remains unlikely, yet if the clean sheets continue to flow and they take their chances as they have done, this could prove to be a special season.
Prediction: Sevilla 2-1 Leganes
Sevilla will be fired up after a number of embarrassing performances of late. They still retain the core of a very good team and should triumph under the lights in Seville. Leganes have looked resolute in defence, but they might just catch Sevilla in a mood to prove a point in front of their fans.
Want to share your opinion? Why not Write For Us?