After a month without winning in La Liga, this Saturday, Sevilla FC will need all of their conviction to confront a tight domestic situation. Picking up three points and gaining lost ground in the race for European football are key. The obective: the elusive fifth place that will be decided in eight huge matches
Big fixtures will keep coming in this historic month of April and every one will be more enjoyable than the last. However, the most pressing reality to deal with has to the challenge of keeping our guard up in the league and continuing to take crucial steps towards Sevillista objectives. RC Celta vs Sevilla FC is the first opportunity the Nervionenses will have to show their very best on a stage where Sevilla's record is remarkably balanced with two wins, two draws and two losses.
In Sevilla's three most recent visits to Balaídos, the away side are undefeated. Following an Iborra hat-trick that secured a 0-3 win in December 2016, neither side could pick up three points in the two proceeding encounters. The former is exactly the sort of example Montella's men will need to follow when looking to defeat Vigo today. After consecutive league defeats and a draw against FC Barcelona, three points are the very least Sevilla can come away with.
A win against a Vigo side who also have eyes on Europe is crucial this Saturday
The Galician side, in a March very similar to that of Sevilla's, followed a win against La Liga's Canary Island side (2-1 against Las Palmas) with a 0-3 loss in the Wanda Metropolitano and two consecutive draws against Málaga and Athletic Club in Bilbao (0-0 and 1-1 respectively). In that regard, like Sevilla, Celta put together three matches in a row without a win - putting their own European aspirations in the balance. Sitting on 40 points, Vigo come into the game looking to make up for poor results and to catch up to the rest of the European group.
Unzué's side have shown consistency in front of their own fans (only three losses in 14 fixtures) and score goals in almost all their fixtures. Going forward, they have the most efficient and most in-form Spanish striker in La Liga on their books in international Iago Aspas - scorer of 35% of the teams goals (16), ahead of Maxi Gómez (who will be ruled out due to suspension and will not be able to add to his tally of 13). The Danish midfielder Wass and attacking option Pione Sisto sit some way back in the scoring charts with four each but pose threats of their own, too. Together, said four attacking players boast 80% of Celta Vigo's goals, with Sisto also contributing nine assists and Aspas having scored twice against his former club, Sevilla.
Vigo's primary goalscoring threat is Aspas, who has scored twice against Sevilla since leaving
With just eight games left in La Liga, Montella's men have some significant work to do in their own goalscoring records, especially given an unfortunate negative goal difference accumulated over the course of the year. Surrounded by teams who are eager to make history by taking a step into European competition, Sevilla need to improve on a -7 that could be the decisive difference between meeting expectations and cruelly missing out. Having conceded two goals in each of their last three games, a Sevilla clean sheet would be a good place to start.
With the side's next two opportunities to turn things around in the league against what are now close rivals in the fight for European football - Celta today and Villarreal in six days - a repeat of Sevilla's 2-1 win (goals from Muriel and Nolito) against Vigo earlier this season can be the bare minimum expectation for an important day. Sevilla have a golden opportunity to make a convincing statement in a tight race. Performing as they should, the Nervionenses will surely not disappoint.