Sevilla – Athletic Club: Stagnant Offense Lets Sevilla Down Once More (1-1)
Sevilla and Athletic Club played to a 1-1 draw at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Friday night, in a match that, for the hosts, was once again defined by a lack of offensive incision, despite enjoying dominance in possession. A second half own goal off the boot of Unai Núñez gifted the home side the draw they desperately needed to stay in the race at the top of the LaLiga table.
Tactical analysis and match report by K.T. Stockwell.
Julen Lopetegui’s reign at Sevilla has seen the club establish itself near the top of the LaLiga table. A feat made possible through stingy defense and timely, sometimes fortunate goals. However, while the league position is promising, recent performances have been less auspicious, evidenced by a difficult win over Mallorca before the winter break, which was preceded by a loss to Villarreal and an unflattering draw with Osasuna.
In a search for more offensive production and accounting for the suspension of standout left back Sergio Reguilón, Lopetegui elected to make changes in advance of the match against Athletic Club. The former Spanish national team manager stuck with his 4-3-3 system, replacing the missing Reguilón with Jules Koundé and giving Daniel Carriço a start at center-back, alongside Diego Carlos, while captain Jesús Navas maintained his role at right back. In midfield, Fernando took up his place in the defensive midfield position – flanked by Éver Banega and Joan Jordán. Up front Munir El Haddadi got the start at striker, while Lucas Ocampos and Óliver Torres took up positions on the wings.
Athletic’s turnaround under Gaizka Garitano has . . .