Sevilla vs Granada
They have bossed their region for some time and Sevilla fans hope that’s not about to end any time soon.
Julen Lopetegui’s side is currently fourth in the La Liga table, with neighbours Granada and Real Betis 10th and 11th , and Los Sevillanos will be keen to keep their local rivals at arms’ length when Granada visit the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium on Saturday.
Sevilla will be determined to stay in their Champions League berth, while their visitors will be more than happy to finish the season where they currently sit and, with a poor away record, to take a point in this derby game would be a significant success.
The latest La Liga 2020 suggests Julen Lopetegui’s Seville will qualify for the Champions League and that will be a good outcome for the former Los Blancos boss in his first season in Andalusia.
Granada’s promotion to La Liga, two years after relegation, prompted pundits and fans to predict a season of consolidation, and a superb start to the season has given them every chance of staying at the top table.
Sevilla’s midfield powerhouse
Sevilla were sunk by two goals from Casemiro in their recent 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid, having failed to take advantage of Los Blancos’ depleted squad. And there will be no player more angered by that than Argentine midfield lynchpin Ever Banega.
Banega has had a colourful career and was something of a hell-raiser in his youth, but he’s been a key part of the Argentina national team and is often seen as the player who makes Lionel Messi tick.
And, as well as being a fierce tackler, he is a good source of supply for Sevilla’s strikers, having made six assists already this season. Banega will be planning to control the middle of the park when the neighbours arrive on Saturday.
Lopetegui’s search for a striker
Luuk de Jong was on target in the defeat to Real Madrid, but leading scorer Lucas Ocampos was sidelined. He’s scored five league goals this season and returned to bag another as Los Sevillanos beat Levante 3-1 in the Copa del Rey third round.
But five goals isn’t a big tally for the leading scorer of a top fur club and Lopetegui is looking to strengthen in the January window. He’s considering a move for Rangers striker Alfredo Morelos. The Colombia international has scored 28 goals in all competitions this season, so the Scottish club will be keen to keep hold of him.
Lopetegui needs to make a move after the departure of Javier Hernandez to LA Galaxy.
This SBOTOP writer was talking to some Manchester United fans last night, after the Red Devils lost to Burnley, and they were amazed their former striker has been allowed to leave Seville; they’d certainly welcome him back to Old Trafford.
Fast start made Granada safe
A fantastic set of La Liga 2020 results early in the season set Granada up for a good year, and while they couldn’t sustain their start, they sit comfortably in mid-table. After taking one point from their first two games back in the top flight, including defeat to Sevilla, Granada won four league games in September to take them to the top of the league.
Los Granadinos Granada gave Barcelona a run for their money last week, and were level until centre back German Sanchez was red carded for a second bookable offence. The 6ft 2in defender Jose Martinez, currently on loan from Eibar, is likely to step in.
Diego Martinez’ men are on a six game losing streak sway from home and have failed to score in their last four away games in La Liga.
The Andalusian head to heads are in favour of Sevilla who have won ten, drawn two and lost five of the last 17 meetings with Granada.
Lopetegui’s team won a tight game away to Granada (0-1) in the second round of La Liga 2019/20 and I fancy them to complete a derby double on Saturday. They have won five of the last seven home games against Los Granadinos.
Both teams come into the game with four wins from six, but Granada’s league form is less impressive. Of those four wins only one was in la Liga, and that a 1-0 victory over struggling Mallorca. The same applies to Sevilla with one win in the last three league games; both teams have progressed to the fourth round of the Copa del Rey.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES