Sevilla defends the ‘Mendilibar effect’ against Celta to stay away from relegation

Athletic Club will seek this Saturday to heal the hangover of the Cup in the debut of Luis García with Espanyol


Sevilla receives Celta this Friday (9:00 p.m.) at the Sánchez-Pizjuán with the aim of giving continuity to the ‘Mendilibar effect’ and confirming the improvement of the last day to continue far from the relegation places, while Athletic Club travels to the RCDE Stadium to forget the cupbearer pain in Luis García’s debut on the ‘perico’ bench; and Elche exhausted their few chances of permanence against a euphoric and finalist cup bearer Osasuna.

The Andalusian team took oxygen and increased their cushion on the red zone with a solvent 0-2 against Cádiz, in the debut of José Luis Mendilibar as a coach. And the Basque seems, for the moment, to be the perfect coach to get out of danger and eagerly look at the quiet zone and even at Europe. The red and whites are now thirteenth with 31 points, with a margin of four units above the drop.

With the morale of the last victory and a renewed and more competitive project than with Jorge Sampaoli, Sevilla will seek to continue increasing that advantage so as not to suffer in the final stretch of the season. In addition, a good domestic performance will help them gauge their potential in the Europa League, a fetish competition in which they will have to face Manchester United in the quarterfinals, a complicated a priori tie that could relaunch optimism or give another ‘blow’ to Seville plans.

The best news for Mendilibar is that the Sevilla infirmary is empty for this crucial branch of the course. Papu Gómez, Karim Rekik and Marcao have returned to work with the group and could be included in the Basque squad, although they continue to have little competitive rhythm. Like Tecatico Corona, which continues to search for that optimal state to compete. Yes, a Lucas Ocampos who saw the fifth yellow in Cádiz will be low, so Erik Lamela, Suso or Óliver Torres aim to replace the Argentine.

In front will be a Celta installed in the middle zone of the table, tenth with 35 points, after linking six straight games without losing, their best streak this season. Thus, they have three wins and three draws, the last one in Balaídos against Almería (2-2), which put a stop to the European aspirations of the Galicians, now nine points behind the Conference League.

The mattress of eight units on the ‘burn’ makes Pizjuán travel without urgency, although the ‘Mendilibar effect’ can be a factor against it, since it has not gone beyond a draw in its last five duels against teams trained by Zaldibar’s . Carlos Carvalhal will not be able to count on the talented Gabri Veiga, suspended, nor with the injured Marchesín, Mingueza, Diego Alves and Solari, as well as Carles Pérez who is a doubt due to discomfort.


Still with the sad hangover from the Cup semifinals, Athletic visits this Saturday (4:15 pm) the new Espanyol led by Luis García. The rojiblancos must heal the wound as quickly as possible so that the cupbearer’s pain does not transfer to a League in which they still aspire to Europe. They are seventh, 7 points behind Villarreal, which closes the continental positions. They could not turn around their poor dynamics in recent weeks in the Cup, with only one win in eight games.

Without the effectiveness that the championship now requires and with growing concern, especially after the recent 0-0 loss in San Mamés against Getafe, Athletic must put a demanding schedule on track that begins in Cornellà and has its next appointment at ‘La Catedral’ with the derby against Real Sociedad. They will also have the direct duel as a visitor against Villarreal, with their last two commitments away from Bilbao against Osasuna and Real Madrid.

Espanyol does not arrive much better, now without Diego Martínez on the bench, but with renewed enthusiasm for the arrival of the experienced Luis García. The Asturian has the difficult task ahead of him of flying back and ending the bad dynamics of four consecutive defeats, the last one against Girona (2-1), and getting the team out of relegation. The Catalan team is now third from bottom, with 27 points, the same as Valencia, which marks the momentary permanence.

Espanyol will receive Athletic with Sergi Gómez out due to suspension and Adrià Pedrosa due to injury. In addition, Brian Oliván will be a doubt until the last minute due to his calf discomfort, while Leandro Cabrera will return to the squad after serving his one-match ban.


Osasuna will live a ‘party’ at El Sadar this Saturday (2:00 p.m.), when the ‘rojilla’ fans receive their team after advancing to a Cup final 18 years later. Jagoba Arrasate’s men will want to extend their cup-bearer euphoria to the domestic championship, in a duel in which they face bottom club Elche. The Navarrese are ninth in the table with 35 points, 9 behind Europe, so they hardly have a margin for error if they want to get into continental positions.

Although they haven’t won since they did (1-0) in the first leg of the Cup semifinals against Athletic, so they hope to maintain the inertia started in San Mamés, where their combative spirit, patience and persistence paid off. In front will be an Elche that continues to sink in the table, bottom with only 13 points, after adding two consecutive defeats -Real Sociedad (2-0) and Barça (0-4)-, for which they aspire to exhaust their tiny options of achieve the desired permanence.

Finally, Real Sociedad, committed to defending their fourth place in the Champions League -fourth march with 48 points, 3 more than their pursuer Betis-, receives Getafe at the Reale Arena. Imanol Alguacil’s men fell (2-0) at La Cerámica after the international break, so they cling to a feud in which they have only lost once in the last nine games. For their part, the ‘azulón’ team is experiencing a good moment, with four games without losing, but only three points above relegation, so they need to score to get more air.


-Friday April 7.

Seville – Celtic. Pizarro Gómez (C. Madrid) 21.00.

-Saturday 8.

Osasuna-Elche. González Fuertes (C. Asturiano) 14.00.

Spanish – Athletic Club. Munuera Montero (C. Andaluz) 16.15.

Real Sociedad – Getafe. Melero López (C. Andalusian) 18.30.

Real Madrid – Villarreal. Alberola Rojas (C. Castmanch) 21.00.

-Domingo 9.

Real Valladolid – Majorca. Muñiz Ruiz (C. Gallego) 14.00.

Real Betis – Cadiz. Cuadra Fernández (Balearic Islands) 16.15.

Almeria – Valencia. Sánchez Martínez (C. Murciano) 18.30.

Lightning V. – Atletico Madrid. Sánchez Martínez (C. Murciano) 21.00.

-Monday 10.

FC Barcelona – Girona. Mateu Lahoz (C. Valenciano) 21.00.