La Liga ends its two-month hiatus on Friday night when Osasuna hosts Sevilla at the Estadio El Sadar. Osasuna struggled for consistency throughout their last campaign and had to stay content with a 10th-place finish. On the other hand, Sevilla seemed like a genuine title contender for a considerable period last season. In the end, they finished fourth, which was not below their expectations. Julen Lopetegui’s men will be the favourites, but can the home side start the La Liga season with an upset?
Osasuna had a terrible end to their 21/22 La Liga campaign as they went winless in their last six La Liga outings. A return of three points from a possible 18 ended the team’s hopes of grabbing a European spot as they finished 12 points away from the last European slot.
Head coach Jagoba Arrasate knows his job will be in danger if the results don’t improve in the new season. But, it would be challenging for his team to get the better of their Friday night opponents, who haven’t returned empty-handed in any of their last five visits to Pamplona.
However, the preseason results have been encouraging for Osasuna. Gorritxoak Los Rojillos have beaten Segunda División side Burgos at El Sadar and won away at Mirandes and Feyenoord. Sevilla would be a far more intense challenge, but the winning run should keep the Osasuna players in good spirit.
Osasuna kept hold of its key players in the window and brought in Moi Gómez and Rubén Peña from Villarreral. Aitor Fernández has signed as a free-agent and Manu Sánchez arrived as an Atlético Madrid loanee.
Fernández will have to wait to make his Osasuna debut as the goalkeeper is not completely fit for the Sevilla tie. Kike Saverio and Ante Budimir will not be a part of the Osasuna matchday squad as well because of injuries.
Sevilla experienced a below-par finish to their otherwise remarkable La Liga campaign like their opening day opponents. A dismal return of three wins in their last 10 La Liga matches derailed a title charge. A fourth-place finish was still a commendable success. But, the Rojiblancos will feel the season could have given them even more if they managed to sustain the momentum till the end.
Lopetegui’s impressive high-possession brand of football will make Sevilla one of the top four favourites this season as well. But can they challenge Real Madrid and Barcelona for the title? Not a lot of people would bet for the Andalusians, but Lopetegui has implemented the fundamentals required to become a top team.
That said, their preseason preparations have been shambolic. After conceding half a dozen away at Arsenal, Sevilla also lost to Leicester City. However, the scoreline was more decent in the latter game as the Foxes edged Sevilla 1-0.
Sevilla bolstered their attack by signing former Real Madrid forward Isco on a free. Marcão and Manchester United loanee Alex Telles came as defensive reinforcements. Sevilla would hope that would help them fill the void left by Jules Koundé in their backline.
Despite their rusty form in preseason, Sevilla should expect to secure all three points against Osasuna. The hosts have a leaky backline, which they did not do much to address in the summer window. Our top football betting tips experts believe Sevilla will win the match 2-0.
Sevilla to win @ 2.45