This Sevilla FC team are prepared to run through a brick wall. Sunday 15th September, they broke their 18 year long wait for a win in Vitoria and picked up another three points - which sent them back to the top of the league. After a brilliant first half and a wonder goal by Joan Jordán, Lopetegui's men knew how to play in the second half and resisted that pressure put on them by Alavés, who didn't create many goal-scoring opportunites. With Chicharito making his debut, playing just over 20 minutes, the team continue to build on the foundations made from a positive start to the season.
The statistics predicted that Sevilla would have most of the ball, and it didn't take long for this to become evident. Alavés gifted the ball to Sevilla all too often, who were in no mood to return the favour. Just like in Cornellá and Granada, and even like in the Sánchez-Pizjuán, Sevilla were on top from the start. Joselu posed a slight threat with a cross-come-shot that was disallowed by VAR, but this was all but a diversion from the dominance of Sevilla. In fact, coming up to the quarter-hour mark, Sevilla had two clear chances through a low drive by Banega and a flick by Ocampos after a pass from Navas.
There were moments when Sevilla completely contained the opposition and when Garitano's men tried to break out from the back, they were met by a fierce press from Sevilla. When it seemed as though the match was heading towards being a scoreless draw at half-time, Sevilla decided to up the pace towards the end of the half. With ten minutes to go until half-time, a shot which rebounded off Ely was safely gathered by Pacheco. A minute later, and after Reguilón was fouled, finally the break-through was found. A free-kick was awarded and up-stepped Joan Jordán, who put the free kick up and over the wall, and made it impossible for the Alavés goalkeeper to get anywhere near it. This meant that Sevilla went in at the break with a deserved one goal lead.
The second half started in very different conditions to those of the first half, with dark clouds and heavy rain falling in Mendizorroza. In fact, it was as if this change in weather played into the team's hands who were most used to it, and a new Alavés came out to play. From being a very one-sided game in the first half, the second was much more even, and Sevilla didn't have as much control. Garitano gave his team more energy after half-time, with the introduction of Burke, and Aleix Vidal also looking threatening. Beforehand, Lopetegui had brought on Gudelj to add more stability to the midfield. Not long after, Chicharito was brought on to make his debut, despite only having a few training sessions with his new teammates.
But, if anything is to typify this new-look Sevilla team, it's the solidness at the back. Alavés disturbed the Sevilla backline and went over the top, but with no real chances coming from it. Lopetegui knew that the most difficult thing had been accomplished and that now, they had to avoid giving away any cheap chances. He made his last change when he brought on Franco Vázquez, who is notoriously good on the ball, to frustrate Alavés. However, you are always going to have to suffer when you play in Mendizorroza, especially when you have such a slender lead. Therefore, although Ocampos nearly made sure of the victory when his shot hit off the outside of the post, Alavés had their only clear opportunity of the game in injury time. A ball was crossed in from the left hand side and was met by a Manu García header at the back post, who although beating Reguilón to the ball, couldn't direct his header on target.
After four matchdays, Sevilla go back to the top of LaLiga after their game thanks to three wins away from home, and a draw at home against Celta. Sevilla's European adventure starts on Thursday night this week, in a game they will be looking to pick up more points. The squad will travel on Tuesday to Azerbaijan, with kick off on Thursday evening in Group A of the UEFA Europa League at 18.55, where they will take on FK Qarabag. Changes to the team are expected to be made because, with very little rest afterwards, the team return to Nervión next Sunday to host none other than Real Madrid.