Fresh from a 2-0 win over Granada, Sevilla host Alaves as they look to cement a top four spot and capitalise on Atletico’s struggles this season.
Sevilla v Alaves – La Liga
Venue: Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium
Kick Off: 17:30
TV Channel: La Liga TV
Last weekend’s comprehensive victory over mid-table Granada lifted Sevilla up to third, and the belief has begun to grow for Julen Lopetegui’s side that Champions League football for next season is an achievable goal. A midweek set back in a shock defeat to Mirandes cannot be ignored for Sevilla, but the return to league action will help Lopetegui’s side, as they look to reinforce their European credentials.
After struggles finding the net earlier in the season, these concerns have begun to ease, as Luuk de Jong’s form has picked up whilst the goals are being shared around the side elsewhere. However, with only 27 goals in 21 games, it is still a concern, and new signing Youssef En-Nesyri will be expected to carry some of this burden. Javier Hernandez’s move to the MLS will have increased these concerns, and with goals in general looking hard to come by in La Liga, the need to a game changing striker for most sides is a must.
Defensively, Sevilla have been assured throughout the season, with only 20 goals conceded and an xGa of 20.26, and they will be confident of back-to-back home clean sheets with Alaves themselves struggling for goals this term. 22 goals in 21 league games, coupled with a huge reliance on two players for goals, is a concern, and if Sevilla can shut out the threat of ex-Premier League strikers Lucas Perez and Joselu, they will be confident of attaining a result on Sunday.
The strikers have struck up an impressive partnership this season, with Joselu’s physical presence causing problems alongside the creative talents of Lucas Perez playing off of the striker, and Sergi Gomez will be partnered by Jean Kounde at the back to keep the duo quet. Injuries and suspensions to key centre backs will be a concern for Sevilla, with both Diego and Carlos and Daniel Carrico missing out, so this is an area to be noteworthy of for Sevilla.
However, Sevilla will be confident of carrying on their strong form, and Nolito in particular impressed against Granada last weekend, capping off an excellent performance with a goal, whilst a dominant midfield performance meant Sevilla eased to victory, and as a result they will be confident of doing so once again on Sunday afternoon.
Sevilla are expecting to be without Joan Jordan, Bono and Daniel Carrico, whilst Diego Carlos is suspended.
Rodrigo Ely is suspended for Alaves, whilst Tomas Pina remains side-lined with a long-term injury.
Head to Head:
Sevilla Wins: 5
Alaves Wins: 2
Sevilla have won their last two La Liga games against Alaves, keeping a clean sheet in both
Sevilla have lost just once in their last eight La Liga games
Alaves’ Joselu has been involved in five of Alaves last eight goals.
Sevilla Last 5 La Liga: L W D L W
Alaves Last 5 La Liga: D L D W L
Sevilla are understandably heavy favourites for the game, with a best price at 4/11, but with a couple of defensive injuries it is worth approaching this with caution, as the centre half pairing of Gomez and Kounde are yet to complete many minutes this season alongside one another.
However, the underlying numbers of both sides and attacks, coupled with the low goals for tallies for both sides do mean another low scoring La Liga clash could be in order. It is a surprise to see Under 2.5 goals as big as 11/10, especially when considering the tactics Alaves will look to employ. With Alaves expected to sit deep and look to frustrate Sevilla, it does leave little space for their attacking talent to work their magic, and this further reinforces the thoughts on a tight affair, meaning that Under 2.5 goals does appeal.
With a dominant performance expected from Sevilla, the attention is then turned to the goal scoring markets. Luuk De Jong has finally found form after a tough start to his Sevilla career, and with two goals in his last two games, he will be confident of carrying this form forward. Priced at 6/4, the Dutch striker is the stand out option, and with Lucas Ocampos and Nolito starting to perform on the wings, and the returning Ever Banega in midfield to pull the strings, it further reinforces his goal scoring chances.