Season in review: How do you solve a problem like Sevilla?

Position: 15th

Grade: D+

Record: 10-11-17
Goals Scored: 48
Goals Conceded: 54

Top Scorer: Youssef En-Nesyri – 20

Top Assister: Suso – 5

Story of the season

How so you solve a problem like Sevilla? Last season ended in chaos, this season started in chaos, and this season ended with the club blaspheming against Jesus. They’ve not been relegated, but when that’s the chief positive…

You’d think Jose Luis Mendilibar would have earned at least six months out of their Europa League win last season, but that was not the case. The ‘new era’ under a new president and new Sporting Director Victor Orta looked a lot like the old one. They were left in the lurch a little by Monchi, but after spending all summer saying they weren’t signing Sergio Ramos, and then a Netflix documentary and a philosopher changed their minds a day after the transfer window – not made up, at least not by us.

Once the season got underway, Ramos was very good, but Sevilla were not. Mendilibar wasn’t given much time, but could not capture the same energy they had last season, and once again they were hanging about near the relegation zone.

The ill-fated appointment of Diego Alonso seemed like a risk, and it was. Alonso managed to unite his side for all of 90 minutes or so against Real Madrid in a 1-1 draw, and while they kept the ball better, the new manager bounce didn’t see them win a game for a month.
Enter Quique Sanchez Flores, and he did manage to stabilise things after much deep breathing and furious looks from behind his beard.

The discovery of Isaac Romero was genuinely quite an exciting development though, and his partnership with Youssouf En-Nesyri was exciting until the former got injured. They ground out enough results in the second half of the season to survive comfortably, based off a back three and some gritty performances.

Grade Explanation

When your side is good enough to win the Europa League, but avoiding relegation cannot be the target for a team the size of Sevilla, with their budget and this squad. Yes there are major gaps in the side, and the money is increasingly tight, but the reality is Sevilla did not look cohesive or clear in their identity for three quarters of this season.

Sacking a sixth manager in two years speaks to the instability of the project, and for every Ramos, there’s a Mariano Diaz, Hannibal Mejbri or Adnan Januzaj. Sevilla showed again that they are winging it to a certain degree, and the manner in which Fernando Reges spoke about the side not caring about defeats after leaving is not encouraging. Avoided catastrophe, but we still scale this as a disastrous season.

Standout moment: 1-0 win over Atletico Madrid at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. It wasn’t rocking because of the team often this year, but this was Sevilla of old, outbattling Diego Simeone’s men.

Key player: Sergio Ramos – we don’t feel we’re being sucked into the narrative too much here. He commanded the backline and raised his game when needed. Scored a few crucial goals too, and the reality is there aren’t too many candidates.

Surprise of the season: An unsurprising pick here – Isaac Romero. He was about to be loaned out to Segunda after playing in the lower leagues with Sevilla Atletico for a couple of years. At the age of 24, you don’t usually expect academy players to burst onto the scene, but he did just that, and to great effect.

Glass half full

Surely they’re in for an easier summer and season next year? If they can keep their cool, that should allow for a better working environment, and Garcia Pimienta might not be to everyone’s taste, but he is used to working in difficult environments, even if Barca Atletic and Las Palmas are not the same size of cauldron, both have egos and politics at work too.

This year it feels like expectations will be lowered, but when it comes to it, a lot of their players are at least useful top-eight La Liga players. They just need to regress to the mean to be better.

Glass half empty

Jesus Navas is set to leave at the end of the year, Fernando and Ivan Rakitic are gone, Sergio Ramos could leave too. It was an ageing side and maybe it was time for a clearout, but with Sevilla looking to sell En-Nesyri too, there’s a lot of quality leaving them too.

Tensions with the board have not eased much, and Sevilla are going to have to find a way of selling their project to fans and players. Basically, they need a whole culture shift, and are the conditions in place for that?

The post Season in review: How do you solve a problem like Sevilla? appeared first on Football España.

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