La Liga: Real Travel to Sevilla, Tough Match for Gijon


Welcome to La Liga Talking Points, a weekly column running throughout the season in which we take a look at the key stories and talking points from Spanish football’s top flight. With an inevitable focus on the biggest teams, such as Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona, there will also be a worthwhile nod toward the rest, we take a look at how the league is shaping up each week and what to look out for going forward.

Sevilla vs. Real Madrid

Real Madrid travel to Seville to take on Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Sunday’s final La Liga fixture.

Sevilla’s sporadic form continues, leaving the Europa League champions in 13th place in the table.

Since their victory over Barcelona on October 3 Sevilla have accrued just four points from a possible 9 available.

Languishing in mid-table will be far from where Unai Emery would have envisioned his team to be fore the season’s start.

Emery was provided with more bad news ahead of kick-off as Kevin Gameiro is struggling with a muscle problem, meaning Fernando Llorente should start up top.

Vitolo and Yevhen Konoplyanka should start in the wide areas for the hosts, with Jose Antonio Reyes still among the substitutes.

Notably, Sevilla have won their last three home matches in La Liga.

Real Madrid meanwhile are having an understated title challenge under the management of Rafa Benitez.

Los Blancos are clear at the top of the table, due to a superior goal difference compared to Barcelona.

Benitez’s men have conceded just four goals all season in La Liga, indicative of the defensive mentality set by the manager.

In the Champions League Real Madrid have comfortably qualified for the knockout stages; their 1-0 win over PSG midweek lifting them to 10 points in Group  A.

Keylor Navas is an injury doubt for Benitez’s team, with Kiko Casilla pushing for a start if required, while Marcelo is also missing due to injury.

Karim Benzema is likely to miss out of the action, with Isco and Jese asked to support Cristiano Ronaldo up top.

Despite defensive football jibes made toward Benitez, Real Madrid have scored at least three goals in their last three matches in La Liga.

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Sevilla vs. Real Madrid Match Prediction

Real Madrid may not be the most aesthetically pleasing this season, but they’re rock-solid defensively and of late have scored freely in the league.

Against such a disappointing Sevilla incarnation this season, Los Blancos are likely to get the win on Sunday night.

Atletico Madrid vs. Sporting Gijon

The Vicente Calderon plays host to Atletico Madrid’s clash with Sporting Gijon on Sunday as Diego Simeone’s men look to revive their faltering La Liga title challenge.

Going into the current season Diego Simeone would have envisioned the opportunity to mount another serious title challenge, amidst a strained Barcelona squad and the likely issues resulting from Rafa Benitez’s arrival at Real Madrid.

Simeone has to some extent undergone a transition with his team this season to a more slick style on the ball, while retaining much of the ferocious nature off of it.

However, their disappointing 1-1 draw away to Deportivo La Coruna underlies a struggle for consistency for Atleti.

Simeone’s men currently sit 5th in the table, four points behind both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

In terms of team news there are no injuries or suspensions for Atleti, with Jackson Martinez and Antoine Griezmann expected to link up again up top, despite Luciano Vietto’s return to fitness.

Sporting Gijon meanwhile sit 12th in the table, having accrued 12 points from 10 matches this season.

Gijon are in typically mixed form, having picked up just seven points from a possible 18 available. Having won two of their five away league matches this season, they won’t arrive in Madrid with too much confidence of getting a positive result.

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Nacho Cases is expected to come back into the midfield after serving a suspension, while Roberto Canella has an injury problem, with Isma Lopez and Menendez battling to replace him at left-back.

Meanwhile, Omar Mascarell should hold down a place in central midfield, with Ivan Cuellar set to continue between the sticks.

Atletico Madrid vs. Sporting Gijon Match Prediction

Sunday poses an opportunity for Atleti to get their title challenge back on track. With the Clasico in two weeks at least one of the top two are guaranteed to drop points soon, so it is up to Simeone’s men to hold their nerve for the coming weeks.