Eight rounds into Spanish Football’s 2018-19 La Liga competition, Sevilla FC, the first week stand out, is still on top of the table.
Los Nervionenses (those from Nervion, a district from Sevilla) have lost four and drawn one of their seventeen matches in all competitions this year, winning by an aggregate goal differential of plus-28.
The team’s Facebook and Twitter (@SevillaFC_ENG) pages chronicles each step up the ladder with an increasing euphoria.
A team that has scored 42 goals this year, Sevilla FC is sitting pretty thanks to a spectacular start by La Liga’s top scorer Andre Silva (7 goals) and Wissam ben Gedder (5 goals, 1 assist), but also by having a well-balanced attack wherein only three players (Pablo Sanabria with 2 goals being the third) has more than a single score.
Coach Pablo Manchin, the man who shepherded Girona (2014-18) into perennial Segunda Division contenders, then into Spain’s first division last year, and then kept them at mid table all season long, has been plying his magic at the Andalusian capital. He can boast a 70.59% winning record this year, a second place slot in Sevilla FC’s Europa League Group J, and first place in La Liga.
Among the team’s highlights this year were a 3-0 thrashing of visiting Real Madrid, a 6-2 away win over Levante, and a 4-1 away win over Rayo Vallecano, to go along several one-sided Europa League wins. The thread running through these performances, and indeed the entire 17-game season so far, is a sense of communal work ethic, one that we witnessed with Girona last year.
Sevilla FC’s starting line-up has remained mostly intact, despite several injuries which required temporary replacements, and few players seem to be used as subs. What does seem to dictate who plays, though, is working for a place as opposed to having had one before he arrived. In short, all starters have his repeated blessings because they previously earned them, not because they inherited their roles from Emeri, Sampaoli, or Caparros
Perhaps the players know this coach means what he says and sticks by those who earn their stripes by his dictates. Most of us would want to work for a boss who tells us one thing, evaluates us by what he told us, and then rewards us if we have mastered it. It will be fun to follow Manchin’s Sevilla FC this season.