Its a Tuesday trip to Spain for Manchester City. This time the Sky Blues take on Sevilla FC in the UEFA Champions League. I was able to catch up with Chris Lai of Monchi’s Men to help get us up to speed with all things Sevilla.
CITYZENDuck: City have not faced Sevilla FC very often, with the last meetings taking place in the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League Group Stage. What should City supporters know about manager Julen Lopetegui’s style of play?
Chris Lail: We are now into year 4 of Lopetegui and his tactics this year have changed slightly. Losing both our star defensemen, Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos, has left the manager thin in the back so he is trying to press more and win back possession quickly once it has been lost. He really likes to control possession and limit the number of chances from the opposition. That said, these tactics are failing miserably at the moment and Sevilla are off to one of their worst starts ever.
CD: Sevilla were transferred to the Europa League after finishing third in their UCL group last season. What does Champions League success look like for the Sevillistas this time around?
CL: Before the season started, I think everyone’s goal was getting out of the group stages after the failure to do so last season. Now after a season start of 1 point in 4 matches in the league and seeing our group draw, the goal in my opinion should be simply 1) do not get destroyed, 2) finish at least third. We, unfortunately, have to concentrate on the league with how poorly we have started.
CD: Erling Haaland has gotten off the mark quickly in the Premier League and is no stranger to scoring goals in the UCL either. What will Sevilla need to do to slow down City’s new striker?
CL: Hope that he doesn’t play. He dominated us in the 2020/21 Champions League Round of Sixteen scoring 4 goals across the two legs with Dortmund. That was with Carlos and Kounde, so I can’t imagine how bad it is going to be this time around.
To answer your question, I don’t think there is anything Sevilla can do to slow him down. He’s too good of a player and we just don’t have the quality or constant concentration to do anything with him. I’m sure Lopetegui is trying to scheme for it, but I really don’t know what he can do at this point other than spike his matpakke with a laxative.
CD: And finally, how do you see this first match of the UCL campaign going? Score prediction?
CL: Sevilla dropped our weekend match to Barcelona 0-3 at our beautiful stadium against a team that isn’t as good as the one we are facing tomorrow. I think everyone over at Monchi’s Men is hoping for anything less than a 0-6 score line.
Best of luck to you all tomorrow. Please rest all your players.