With La Liga making its return in just a few days, GiveMeSport will be taking a look at all 20 competitors, from the title challengers to the new boys and everyone in between. Next we’ll be assessing Sevilla’s chances of breaking into the top four.
Sevilla’s 2013/14 campaign can largely be seen as a success, in no small part due to their triumph in the Europa League, their third triumph in the competition secured after a penalty-shootout win over Benfica. In the league, they improved on a ninth-placed finish by moving up four spots, with Ivan Rakitic and Carlos Bacca key to their success.
In: Alejandro Arribas, Iago Aspas (loan), Mariano Barbosa, Gerard Deulofeu (loan), Grzegorz Krychowiak, Miroslav Stevanovic, Denis Suarez (loan), Aleix Vidal.
Out: Alberto Moreno, Diego Perotti, Ivan Rakitic, Ever Banega.
There is no escaping the costly departure of Ivan Rakitic. The Croat was easily Sevilla’s most influential player, but will be plying his trade in Catalonia this season. First choice left-back Alberto Moreno has also left the club and manager Uani Emery now seems to be reliant on loan players, with Iago Aspas, Denis Suarez and Gerard Deulofeu making temporary moves.
Key player: Carlos Bacca
The Colombian may have lost his ammunition in the form of Rakitic, but is still more than capable of firing on all cylinders. Sevilla will be heavily reliant on his and Kevin Gameiro’s goals in the upcoming season.
One to watch: Denis Suarez
Suarez’s loan was a part of the deal which took Rakitic to Barcelona, and the burden of creativity may be placed on his shoulders. Emery has already shown his faith in the former Manchester City youngster, giving his a starting berth in Sevilla’s European Super Cup clash against Real Madrid.
Olympique Lyonnais 0 – 0 Sevilla
Eintracht Braunshweig 1 – 2 Sevilla
Union Berlin 2 – 1 Sevilla
Hertha Berlin 0 -2 Sevilla
Fernerbahce 0 – 2 Sevilla
Sevilla 2 – 0 Cordoba
Sevilla 0 – 2 Sampdoria
Cadiz 0 – 3 Sevilla
Will they get into the top four?
A fifth place finish in La Liga is one to be proud of for Sevilla, but it is worth pondering how much their league form suffered due to their Europa League exploits. Had they not reached the final, perhaps they could’ve bettered their finishing position.
Sevilla played 19 extra matches as a part of their Europa League duties. They will participate in the tournament again this season, and how far they go will determine how well they do in La Liga.
Most teams tend to perform better once they exit the Europa League, and trying to balance the two important competitions with a reasonable degree of success could prove to be a hindrance.
Moreover, they have lost some key players and some of their replacements (Iago Aspas in particular) are far from convincing. They may just miss out on a top-four finish, but expect them to be up there and competing this season.