Fiorentina v Sevilla
Thursday May 14, 20:05
A few weeks ago this season promised so much for Vincenzo Montella’s Fiorentina, but the campaign has collapsed like a pack of ill-stacked cards. A run of four defeats out of six in Serie A has destroyed hopes of Champions League qualification, and a 3-0 defeat at Sevilla last week has surely put paid to any ambitions of reaching the Europa League final in Warsaw.
Last week’s heavy loss at the Sanchez Pizjuan wasn’t quite as straightforward as the scoreline made it look. At 1-0 down Fiorentina actually played some enterprising football and made some chances, but the defensive problems that have plagued them in recent weeks resurfaced at the worst possible time. Aleix Vidal was given far too much space on Sevilla’s right flank, and he punished La Viola with a brace. Brazilian goalkeeper Neto, who has been attracting rave reviews for some of his displays this season, was well short of his best.
Montella is putting a brave face on things and insisting his team can turn the tie around, and he will adopt his usual attacking style. He has personnel issues to contend with, as Micah Richards, Manuel Vargas and Nenad Tomovic are all carrying injuries.
Unai Emery’s remarkable Sevilla side have continued their march towards a second consecutive Europa League triumph, and last week’s performance showcased their quality and their extraordinary self-belief. Having taken the lead, the Spaniards were then put under pressure by the visitors, but resisted and gradually wore down their opponents. Super-sub Kevin Gameiro’s late third goal has given Sevilla a big margin for error, and I think they will go on to qualify in style.
Sevilla have won all but one of their Europa League knockout games this term, and they have scored at least twice in six of those seven matches. Emery insists his side won’t rest on their laurels, and will go for the win in Tuscany to make absolutely sure of progress. He knows an away goal kills the tie stone dead, so I don’t expect a rearguard action. Sevilla won the first legs of their ties in the last 32, the last 16 and the quarter-finals, but they still played positive football in the second games of those ties.
Emery exploited Fiorentina’s lack of discipline when defending counter-attacks last week, and I expect Sevilla to have similar success thios time around, as the Italians have no choice but to push forward. The hosts have lost six of their last ten home games in all competitions, and there is no way they should be [2.32] favourites to win this game.
I would take advantage of Sevilla’s inflated price by backing them -0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.37]. If the game is drawn, you get your stake back. If Sevilla win, you win, and the Andalusians have already won away to Borussia Monchengladbach and Villarreal in the knockout rounds.
Over/Under 2.5 Goals
Fiorentina must push for goals, and Sevilla will be waiting to pounce on the counter. Montella knows no other way to play but to attack, and their last five games in all competitions have featured at least three goals. Seven of Sevilla’s last ten matches have seen an overs bet pay out, and that’s also true of their last six Europa League matches. Overs is the way to go at [1.81].
Back Over 2.5 Goals at [1.81]
Back Sevilla -0 on the Asian Handicap at [2.37]
2014/15 Europa League P/L (1 pt per bet)
Points Staked: 89
Points Returned: 88.8
P/L: -0.2 points