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How Sevilla accidentally stumbled across a winning formula to top La Liga

They are leaving Barcelona and Real Madrid in their dust

They’re the Robin Hood of Spanish football.

*Just put Real Madrid and Barcelona on my Saturday acca, time to take a huge sip of coffee and check the La Liga table.*

The form of Spanish football’s usual high-flyers has been particularly unusual this season.


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A visual representation of Madrid’s campaign

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A visual representation of Madrid’s campaign

Both Real and Barcelona have been woefully inconsistent and made the La Liga title race one to actually pay attention to this season.

Julen Lopetegui and Ernesto Valverde have both struggled and with their side’s poor form, a new top-dog in Spanish football has emerged.

Sevilla have well and truly been the surprise package of the season and find themselves top after eight games.

Celebrate like nobody is watching

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Celebrate like nobody is watching

Having finished 7th in La Liga last season, there was little expected of Pablo Machin’s side.

A turbulent summer transfer window furthered their case to have a struggling campaign, as several high-profile players departed the club.

Steven Nzonzi and Clement Lenglet swapped Sevilla for Roma and Barcelona respectively, whilst Joaquin Correa left to join Serie A outfit Lazio.

They recouped £25million but the Frenchman’s loss was a major one

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They recouped £25million but the Frenchman’s loss was a major one

Machin had a hell of a job on his hands to rebuild a squad that was slowly being picked apart.

So, just how did he go about orchestrating his side’s incline to top spot?

Sevilla made £15million profit from their summer transfer business. So nobody can excuse them of throwing money at the wall.

Garms more flair than Pep Guardiola

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Garms more flair than Pep Guardiola

Due to their involvement in Europa League qualifying, the Spanish club have already played seventeen games this campaign.

A fixture overload however is having little impact. Tiredness is seemingly not in their DNA as they now boast four wins in a row.

Machin has used the full depth of his squad to keep his lineups fresh and is reaping the rewards.

Squad goals

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Squad goals

All important to the table-topping run has been a midfield trio that Machin stumbled upon more by accident than design.

Maxime Gonalons and Ibrahim Amadou was the central pairing that the Spaniard had wanted in place for the start of the season.

However, both the new arrivals suffered injuries and left Sevilla needing to improvise in the centre of the park.

He channelled his inner Tony Adams to find the solution

AFP or licensors
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He channelled his inner Tony Adams to find the solution

Machin bailed on his policy of two defensive midfielders, deciding instead to play with no out-and-out CDM

Instead, Sevilla have been lining up with three midfielders not known for their defensive work.

Ever Banega, Pablo Sarabia and Franco Vazquez were the unlikely motley crew thrown together. It’s actually worked a treat.

The experienced Argentine has won the ball back more times than any other player in La Liga this season.

Workhorse

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Workhorse

Sarabia and Vazquez are both used to playing higher up the pitch, but have adapted well to their newfound defensively responsibilities.

The combination in midfield has been perfectly complimented by two strikers who can’t stop scoring in recent weeks.

Wissam Ben Yedder is at last delivering on his undoubted potential.

Man United fans still get chills at the sight of this guy

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Man United fans still get chills at the sight of this guy

The Frenchman is performing consistently now that he has the confidence of the manager, something that had perhaps been lacking under previous regimes.

Andre Silva, on loan from AC Milan has been in his best goalscoring form of his career to date

The Portuguese forward has scored seven goals in eight La Liga appearances and looks to be a player full of confidence.

He’s earmarked as Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-term successor in the national team

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He’s earmarked as Cristiano Ronaldo’s long-term successor in the national team

Machin has gotten the best out of Silva, who had struggled for goals since his £35million move from Porto to AC Milan.

He’s finally making good on his tag as the ‘next Ronaldo‘ in the Portuguese national side in the future.

Jesus Navas, who just loves Sevilla, is enjoying a rebirth of his career.

Has he gotten taller?

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Has he gotten taller?

The former Man City winger failed to deliver consistently at the Etihad and returned to his boyhood club in 2017.

The 32-year-old has one goal and six assists after eight league games, a significant return considering his form in England.

Tomas Vaclik has been a cat between the sticks following his £6million transfer from Basel in the summer.

The Czech Republic international has helped his side to concede fewer goals than Barca. Some feat.

None of this fancy playing from the back

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None of this fancy playing from the back

Machin is adamant that his side will need to add reinforcements in January if they are to continue operating at their current level.

Sevilla’s next game after the international break is against none other than last year’s La Liga champions Barcelona.

The clash with Lionel Messi and co will be the perfect litmus test to see just how far Sevilla have come.

Watch this space.


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