Sevilla v Granada – Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán at 19:45 live on Sky Sports
Sevilla’s anticipated La Liga title challenge has long since disintegrated but the Andalusians should be well capable of dusting themselves down and producing a commanding performance at their fortress Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan home on Friday night.
Los Rojiblancos were surprisingly ousted from the Champions League at the Last 16 stage by Leicester and having already been knocked out of the Copa del Rey, Jorge Sampaoli’s side saw their league form alarmingly drop-off.
Atletico Madrid have taken over in third and whilst Sevilla are comfortably in fourth – the final Champions League qualification position – it’s a disappointing climax to what a campaign that promised so much only a matter of months ago.
As well as their unimpressive recent run of results, where Friday’s hosts have claimed a sole success in seven, speculation has mounted over the future of Sampaoli with the Argentine being heavily linked with the vacant head coach’s role with his national team.
Sevilla answering critics
However, Sevilla and Sampaoli answered recent critics with an excellent effort when thrashing 16th-placed Deportivo by four in their last outing and although bottom-six strugglers Sporting Gijon and Leganes have picked up points against Los Rojiblancos of late, I’m counting on the hosts to put on a show here.
Sevilla have suffered only one reverse in 15 (W11-D3-L1) at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan and have taken top honours in 15 of their last 18 encounters here with bottom-six sides over the past three seasons. In seven of those victories, the Andalusians’ winning margin was more than two goals.
Vitolo might be missing through suspension but Pablo Sarabia is well capable of running the show on the left-hand side of the attack whilst Samir Nasri should be fit to feature in midfield. Matias Kranevitter and Adil Rami are also tipped for recalls with Sampaoli’s side almost at full-strength.
Granada in bother
The same can’t be said of visitors Granada who arrive on the back of a humbling 3-0 home reverse to Celta Vigo’s second string in Tony Adams’ first game in charge.
Mubarak Wakaso and Sverrir Ingason are both banned after collecting cards in that defeat meaning Gaston Silva is expected to fill in at centre-back with Ruben Vezo continuing at right-back due to an injury to Dimitri Foulquier.
The guests are five points adrift of safety with just six matches to play and it’s hard to see Granada turning the corner, especially on their travels with a rotten away record against their name. The visitors are winless (W0-D4-L12) on the road and have lost 22 of 23 trips to top-six sides since 2013/14.
A massive 17 of those 22 defeats suffered by Granada at La Liga’s elite were by two-goal margins with 13 losses arriving by three goals or more suggesting the -2 Asian Handicap available on Sevilla – at odds of 1.83 – is well worth backing for Friday night’s regional derby date.
Asian Handicap Recommendation: Sevilla -2 Asian Handicap (1.83)
Prices correct at time of writing.