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Primera División

  • October 24, 2010
  • • 18:00
  • • Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla
  • Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
  • • Attendance: 40000
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La Liga Preview: Sevilla - Athletic Bilbao

La Liga Preview: Sevilla - Athletic Bilbao

Los Nervionenses face a tough encounter against los Leones...

Ups And Downs

There were great expectations for Sevilla this season, but already los Nervionenses have fallen short of their goal of reaching the Champions League proper. Now the Andalucian club must focus on getting into position to play in next season’s competition, which means finishing in Spain’s top four. Gregorio Manzano’s side must keep a decent start to the season going against Athletic Bilbao this weekend.

At present, Sevilla lie seventh in the table, which is a little below where they’d ideally like to be. Given the early season turbulence that followed the Champions League play-off defeat to Braga, namely the sacking of Antonio Alvarez, it’s little surprise they’ve perhaps failed to live up to expectations, and now los Rojiblancos must build again under their new coach.

Manzano, who lead Mallorca to a terrifically successful campaign last season by their modest standards, has had something of a mixed start at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. After defeating Borussia Dortmund narrowly in the Europa League, Sevilla impressively beat Atletico Madrid before slumping to defeat against Sporting de Gijon.

The weekend’s blip was quickly put behind them as they shifted up to a 1-0 victory against Karpaty on Thursday, keeping their hopes of progression in the Europa League burning bright. Frederic Kanoute scored the only goal of the game, and though it was an underwhelming performance Manzano would take that from his side every week if it meant three points were won in the process.

Straight Down The Middle


Lying eighth in the table, it’s been a decent start to the season for an Athletic Bilbao team without any serious pretensions of reaching Europe. The Basque club have had something of a mixed bag in the early weeks of the season, but in general Joaquin Caparros’ side have performed to a good standard, picking up three wins to balance out defeats against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia.

After successive losses against Barca and los Che, the Bilbao outfit got back to winning ways last weekend with a 2-0 success over lowly Zaragoza. San Mames celebrated the opening goal from Iraola after just 11 minutes, and when Fernando Llorente added a second midway through the first half the fixture was effectively over as a contest. Los Manos did plunder a late consolation, but it was no more than that.

“Zaragoza were determined, but we played direct football and created many chances. Unfortunately, we were unable to take that performance into the second half,” a pleased Caparros told the press after the game. “I am very happy with the three points, and our first half performance was magnificent.”

It’s regularly been a problem replicating such form on the road for los Leones, who tend to perform to their optimum when backed by their fiercely partisan support at San Mames. If they can find their top level at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, however, they have the potential to wreak havoc.


TEAM NEWS

Sevilla

There are a host of issues for Sevilla, the most pressing of which is an injury to Jesus Navas, who is expected to be absent this week and next due to an ankle injury. Luca Cigarini didn’t play in midweek because of a back issue, while Arouna Kone, Federico Fazio, Ivica Dragutinovic and Sergio Sanchez remain on the long-term casualty list.

Athletic

Fernando Amorebieta and Aitor Ocio are not expected to shake problems in time to compete for a place in the rearguard. Jon Aurtenetxe is on Under-19 duty for Spain, so the back four is expected to be unchanged.

Ibai Gomez was injured just minutes into his debut and faces as sustained period on the sidelines due to a serious knee problem. He’s likely to miss three months of action.

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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Andrés PalopGoalkeeper
4Martín CáceresDefender
14Mouhamadou DaboDefender
3Fernando NavarroDefender
5AlexisDefender
29Abdoulay KonkoDefender
8RenatoMidfielder
-RomaricMidfielder
11Diego CapelMidfielder
9Luis FabianoStriker
12Fred KanoutéStriker
13Javi VarasGoalkeeper
-José CarlosMidfielder
21AlfaroStriker
9NegredoStriker
-Tiberio GuarenteMidfielder
14Julien EscudéDefender
19PerottiMidfielder
1IraizozGoalkeeper
15UstaritzDefender
6Mikel San José DomínguezDefender
15Andoni IraolaDefender
25KoikiliDefender
8Javi MartínezMidfielder
14SusaetaMidfielder
18Carlos GurpeguiMidfielder
2ToqueroStriker
19MuniainStriker
14Fernando LlorenteStriker
13Raúl Fernández MateosGoalkeeper
24BalenziagaDefender
8IturraspeMidfielder
10Óscar De MarcosMidfielder
11Igor GabilondoMidfielder
28VélezStriker
-OrbaizMidfielder
Players to Watch
Fred Kanouté
Fred Kanouté
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 12
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
With Luis Fabiano still out of sorts, much of the offensive burden is liable to be handed to Frederic Kanoute, who struck Sevilla’s only goal in midweek. The 33-year-old has very rarely been given a chance from the outset this season, but when’s he’s started he’s tended to produce the goods. Given that the Malian has started only five games this season, his return of five goals is not bad at all. Either from the bench or from the start, expect him to be a threat.
Fernando Llorente
Fernando Llorente
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 14
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Fernando Llorente remains the man of the moment for Athletic, but their fans should enjoy him while they can as some reports have the Spaniard lined up to fill Wayne Rooney’s boots at Manchester United. The hulky centre-forward’s goals record in recent times cannot be argued with; he has scored four times in three outings for club in country, and eight times in total this term.

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