What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Sevilla vs Deportivo La Coruna
When: Friday 15th February, 2013, at 20:30 UK time
Where: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain

Moving On

Almost a week has passed since Sevilla endured a hard loss to Real Madrid. The Andalucian side could not manage to replicate the upset that they inflicted upon the reigning league champions when they defeated them 1-0 last September, and found themselves leaving the Santiago Bernabeu with a 4-1 loss. Back on their own ground, they will relish their chances of getting back to winning ways when they host Deportivo La Coruna, a side that has lost their last three La Liga fixtures.

Playing Deportivo should be Sevilla’s golden opportunity to come up with the points they desire: The five-time Copa del Rey winners are in good form domestically, winning their last three league games on home soil, and are undefeated against Deportivo in the last six matches disputed between the two sides.

However, they should not take their visitors lightly, according to manager Unai Emery, who stressed that his side must forget about the loss to Real Madrid and focus on their upcoming challenge.

“We have to move forward and understand that the Bernabeu war [against Real Madrid] was not ours to win, we had a good game, but we must move on. Our war is tomorrow [Friday], at the Sanchez Pizjuan. That's our war, where our strong weapon will be playing at home.” Emery also urged his players to be very conscious of their opponents’ threatening attack. “Bruno Gamma, Pizzi and Riki are good players, who are having a very good season.”

New Direction

Just a handful of games were enough for Domingos Pacienca to step down as Deportivo coach and allow Fernando Vasquez to be installed as the team’s third coach for the 2012/13 season. Vasquez’s job is to ensure that Deportivo survive this current season and avoid the prospect of relegation. On paper, the Galician side are just six points away from the safe zone, but given their current form, they will need a huge change in mentality to achieve their goals.

Sevilla are favourites to win this match. However, new coach Vasquez declared that his side will certainly not make it easy for the home team, despite his praising the opposition. “I know Sevilla and Emery, but I want to build my group first. From my point of view, Sevilla are in a situation that they do not belong, they are a team that after Madrid and Barca should be disputing with Atletico Madrid and Valencia the fourth or fifth position. Their situation deteriorated, although they seemed to have improved with Emery, but did not do a good job in Madrid. However, there is no doubt that we can cope with them.”

Morale could be high at Deportivo, but the numbers clearly indicate their vulnerabilities, as the 2000 champions have not found a win in their last 22 domestic games on the road.

Recent form

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Sevilla (01/02; Copa del Rey)
Sevilla 2-1 Rayo Vallecano (04/02; La Liga)
Real Madrid 4-1 Sevilla (10/02; La Liga)

Deportivo La Coruna:
Deportivo La Coruna 2-3 Valencia (27/01; La Liga)
Getafe 3-1 Deportivo La Coruna (03/02; La Liga)
Deportivo La Coruna 0-3 Granada (10/02; La Liga)

Key absences

Sevilla: Andres Palop; Cicinho; Diego Perotti; Piotr Trochowski; Hedwiges Maduro (suspended)

Deportivo La Coruna: Jesus Vasquez; Aythami; Laure; Manuel Pablo (suspended)

Players to watch

Sevilla – Ivan Rakitic: The Croatian midfielder returns for this game after missing the last one against Real Madrid as a result of a suspension. Rakitic has been one of Sevilla’s most influential and decisive players, and his return to the centre of the park will be welcomed as the team home look to impose themselves early on.

Deportivo La Coruna – Pizzi: The forward, on loan from Atletico Madrid, is his team’s focal point in attack with seven goals after 21 league games. Two of these strikes came against Barcelona earlier this season and should he replicate that display, then there is every chance for Deportivo to emerge out of their dark tunnel.

Match Prediction

It will be interesting to see how Deportivo react under the new tutelage of Fernando Vasquez. However, they have been awful on the road, and are missing key players such as captain Manuel Pablo. Sevilla will relish the chance to take what should be an easy three points. Sevilla 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna.

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