No European Hangover For Emery’s Sevilla
Celta Vigo v Sevilla
Sevilla still have an opportunity to claim a top four spot in La Liga and face a trip to Celta Vigo on Sunday with no room for error as the domestic season enters its final furlong.
Celta Vigo remain just inside the top half of the table in tenth place following last weekend’s 2-2 draw with Almeria, and have now won three of their last five while losing just once in six La Liga outings – a 4-2 turnaround at the hands of Real Madrid at the tail end of April.
Eduardo Berizzo’s side have picked up fewer points than any other team in the top ten this season though but their recent run of 11 points from 18 available has assured them of top flight football for next term.
A run of scoring in which he’s found the net in each of his last four appearances, including the opener at Almeria last weekend, have put Nolito top of the club’s scoring charts with 12 league goals this season, one ahead of Joaquin Larrivey.
Thursday’s nights comprehensive 3-0 win over Fiorentina in the first leg of their Europa League semi-final has put one foot in the final for Sevilla and an opportunity to retain Europe’s second competition and the Champions League berth that comes with it.
Last weekend’s 3-2 defeat at home to Real Madrid saw Unai Emry’s men surrender the only remaining unbeaten home record in La Liga and subsequently fall three points behind Valencia in the race to finish in Spain’s top four.
That loss was, however, their only defeat in the last 17 games while Los Rojiblancos have also won five of their last six league games away from home and drawn the other.
Colombian striker Carlos Bacca’s penalty against Real last weekend was his third goal in two Primera Divison games and took him to 20 league goals in an impressive season.
Midfielder Nemanja Radoja is out for the hosts along with defender Carles Planas, with both joining long term absentee Borja Oubina on the sidelines.
Sevilla are in the unusual position of being without two goalkeepers going into the game after first choice stopper Beto joined Mariano Barbosa on the the injury list last weekend. Argentine defender Nicolas Pareja is expected to be out until the new year after he suffered an anterior cruciate ligament injury last month.
Head to Head
Pareja scored the only goal of the contest in the reverse fixture in Seville back in January, but Celta did the double over Sevilla last season thanks to a pair of victories by the same scoreline.
There’s been no draws between the cubs in any of the past nine meetings, with Sevilla narrowly holding the edge over that period with five wins.
With their European semi-final all but sewn up following a fine first leg win it’s unlikely Sevilla will risk heavy rotation here and can fully focus on their league position until their almost annual showing in the Europa League final so take them to pick up three points here at 6/4.
Both teams scoring looks a shoo-in at 1/2 while an away win with over 2.5 goals in the game looks a great punt at 5/2. With six goals in his last five appearances, Celta’s Santiago Mina looks overpriced in the goalscorers market at 11/2 to score first and 7/5 anytime.