The race for the La Liga title has fast become a two-horse race. La Liga leaders Real Madrid are out in front and favourities to win the La Liga crown back.
However, their main challengers are not Barcelona or Atlético Madrid but Sevilla. Whereas the former have faltered this season, the side from Andalusia are dreaming of winning the La Liga title for the first time since 1946.
Looking For First La Liga Title in 76 Years – Can Sevilla Win Title?
The Rise of Sevilla
Based in Seville, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia. The club was formed in 1890 with Scottish-born Edward Farquharson Johnston becoming their first president.
Before the 2005-06 season, Sevilla’s successes were few are far between. They won the La Liga title in 1946 and won the Copa Del Rey three times. However, going into that season their only trophy in the last 50 years was winning the Spanish Segunda division. But the 2005-06 season sparked a run of unprecedented success.
Sevilla went on to win the UEFA Cup defeating Middlesbrough 4-0 in the final to win their first European trophy. The following season, they retained their trophy defeating Espanyol on penalties at Hampden Park.
They have continued their dominance in the UEFA Cup now called the Europa League and have won the competition six times in 15 years.
Domestic success has also followed in the last 15 years. Sevilla have won two Copa Del Reys and the Spanish Super Cup.
However, despite their recent success, two things have eluded them. First significant and consistent progress in the UEFA Champions League. Despite success in the Europa League, Sevilla hasn’t been able to replicate that in Europe’s premier competition. They have only been able to reach one quarter-final over the last 10 years.
Also, their highest finish in La Liga over that time was fourth last season. Sevilla have struggled to consistently stay with the likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona, and Atlético Madrid. That may be about to change this season.
Key to Sevilla’s Success
Sevilla currently find themselves five points behind Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table with a game in hand. One of the reasons that they find themselves as Real Madrid’s main challengers has been their stoic defence.
They have conceded just 13 goals in 20 league games. Along with Manchester City, it is the best defence in the top five leagues in Europe. The key has been the centre-back partnership and form of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde.
Sevilla’s recruitment in recent years has been generally excellent. It has been masterminded by former player now Director Monchi. Their aims include improving the club’s knowledge base through university partnerships and focus on technology and data to gain a competitive edge.
The likes of Rafa Mir and Youssef En-Nesyri have added firepower to Sevilla’s attack. They also have experience in midfield with Ivan Rakitic.
Recently, they announced the signing of Jesus Corona from Porto to further bolster their attacking Arsenal. Given how Barcelona and Athletico Madrid have faltered this season, this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to finally end their La Liga title drought.
Last season, Sevilla were in the mix for the title but fell away towards the end of the season. However, with just two defeats all season in La Liga, you expect that Sevilla’s title challenge is here to stay.
Will it be Redemption for Julen Lopetegui?
One of the intriguing backstories to this season’s La Liga title race surrounds Sevilla boss Julen Lopetegui. In 2018, Lopetegui was in charge of Spain and was set to lead them to the World Cup finals in Russia. With the team already in Russia for the tournament, Lopetegui was announced that he would take over as Real Madrid boss after the World Cup.
However, just two days prior to Spain’s first match at the World Cup, Lopetegui was sacked due to the Spanish Football Federation claims that the Real Madrid negotiation happened without their knowledge.
Lopetegui’s time at the Bernabeu proved unsuccessful. He was sacked just three months after taking charge following a humiliating 5-1 El Clasico defeat to Barcelona.
He was then appointed as Sevilla boss in June 2019 and guided the club to their sixth Europa League title in 2020. Now he is looking to become a Sevilla legend by winning their first title in 76 years.
It would be even sweeter for Lopetegui if he can pip his former employers Real Madrid to the La Liga crown. It would be redemption for the 55-year-old who was derided after his time in Madrid.
If Sevilla do win the La Liga title it would be the equivalent of Leicester City winning the Premier League back in 2016. They may still be the underdogs but this may just be the year that Sevilla ends their La Liga title wait.
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