MX23RW : Tuesday, June 15 20:22:11| >> :600:2364709:2364709:
Sep 11, 2015 at 7.30pm UK at Estadi Ciutat de Valencia
Levante
1-1
Sevilla
Camarasa (58')
FT(HT: 0-1)
N'Zonzi (12')

Preview: Levante vs. Sevilla

Sports Mole previews Friday's La Liga clash between Levante and Sevilla in Valencia.

Sevilla will attempt to bounce back from a disappointing start to the new La Liga season when they travel to Levante on Friday evening.

Unai Emery's side have only taken one point from their two matches thus far, while the same can also be said for Levante, who claimed a 0-0 draw away to Las Palmas before the international break.


Levante

Levante's players celebrate after scoring during the Spanish league football match Levante UD vs Valencia CF at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium in Valencia on November 23, 2014.© Getty Images

A disappointing 2014-15 La Liga campaign saw Levante end the season in 14th position, their lowest finish in Spain's top flight since the 2010-11 season. The supporters have called for improvement, but the early signs are that it will be another difficult campaign for Lucas Alcaraz's side.

It has been an underwhelming start to the season in terms of both results and performances, with the Valencia-based club opening with a 2-1 home defeat to Celta Vigo, before drawing away at Las Palmas ahead of the international break. Dating back to last season, Levante are now without a win in six league games and have failed to score in four of them.

It was not exactly the busiest of summer transfer windows for Levante, but they did spend more than £1m on acquiring striker Deyverson from Belenenses, while Angel Trujillo and Diego Marino also arrived. In terms of outgoings, the likes of Loukas Vyntra, Pape Diop and David Barral went on free transfers.

Scoring goals was a problem for Levante last season – managing just 34 in their 38 league games. In terms of the teams around them, their home form – six wins, six draws and seven defeats – was not disastrous, but they lost 12 of their 19 away fixtures, which will need to improve this term.

In terms of what is to come for Levante, after this one, they will make the daunting trip to Barcelona on September 20. Next will come matches against Eibar and Getafe, before they host Villarreal at the start of next month. Over the course of the two rounds of La Liga matches thus far, Levante have had the lowest average possession (31.5%), which will also be a concern to the manager.

That said, Levante are currently playing their sixth successive season in Spain's top flight having not been relegated since the 2007-08 campaign. It took them two seasons to return to La Liga after going down in 2008 and their best-ever finish in the top flight occurred in recent years – sixth in the 2011-12 campaign.

Recent form: LDLDLD
Recent form (all competitions): LDLWLD


Sevilla

Sevilla's players celebrate after scoring during the Spanish league football match SD Eibar vs Sevilla FC at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium in Eibar on April 29, 2015© Getty Images

A brilliant 2014-15 campaign saw Sevilla finish fifth in La Liga and win the Europa League, which secured a spot in the group stages of the Champions League. There has been a hangover into the new season, however, with just one point collected from their first two league matches.

Emery's side opened the new La Liga season with a 0-0 draw away to Malaga, before losing 3-0 at home to Atletico Madrid before the international break. The three-goal defeat was a little harsh on the hosts, but there is no doubt that it has been a disappointing start to the campaign.

Much was made of Sevilla's excellent home form last season – winning 13 of their 19 matches at the Estadio Ramon and losing just once. They also won 10 times on the road, however, and after the 0-0 draw at Malaga on matchday one, are now unbeaten in eight consecutive away fixtures, which is their best run of form since October 2008.

Sevilla have failed to score in their first two games of a top-flight season for the first time since the 1967-68 campaign, but will be confident of returning to form at a ground where they won 2-1 in the league last season. This match also precedes Sevilla's return to the Champions League, with their first group match taking place next Tuesday at home to Borussia Monchengladbach.

It was a very busy summer at the Estadio Ramon in terms of transfers, with key players Carlos Bacca and Aleix Vidal both being allowed to leave. There were a number of high-profile incomings, however, with Fernando Llorente joining the likes of Adil Rami, Ciro Immobile, Yevhen Konoplyanka and Steven N'Zonzi. Such are the demands of Champions League football, Emery will need to utilise his squad, but the manager has experience of that due to the club's recent Europa League success.

With Barcelona and Real Madrid once again the two favourites to occupy first and second in the league this season and Atletico Madrid getting stronger, it does appear that Sevilla will once again battle Valencia for fourth position in La Liga. It has been a disappointing start, but victory here could be the catalyst for a strong run of form.

Recent form: LDWWDL
Recent form (all competitions): LDLLDL


Team News

Valencia's Adil Rami in action during the match against Malaga on August 17, 2013© Getty Images

Levante will still be without the services of Simao Junior, who is suspended, but head coach Alcaraz has no fresh injury concerns ahead of the match.

New signing Deyverson started alongside Nabil Ghilas against Las Palmas and that should again be the case here, but Roger Marti is also pushing for a spot in the XI.

Ruben Garcia will also be hoping to feature from the outset, but the back five is expected to remain unchanged as Alcaraz looks for consistency in a defensive area.

As for Sevilla, central defender Nicolas Pareja is still on the sidelines with a knee problem, while Rami is also facing six weeks out of action with a groin problem. The visitors will therefore be sweating on the fitness of Timothee Kolodziejczak due to their lack of numbers at the back.

N'Zonzi, however, could make his official debut after recovering from injury. Emery also has a decision in goal, with Sergio Rico putting strong pressure on Beto, while summer signings Krohn-Dehli and Konoplyanka could replace Vicente Iborra and Jose Antonio Reyes.

Llorente should continue as the central striker and the Spaniard has a good scoring record against Levante, hitting five goals in 10 league appearances during his time with Athletic Bilbao.

Levante possible starting lineup:
Ruben; Lopez, Trujillo, Feddal, Juanfran, Tono; Mari, Verza, Garcia; Ghilas, Deyverson

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Rico; Tremoulinas, Carrico, Kolo, Coke; Krychowiak, Krohn-Dehli; Konoplyanka, Banega, Vitolo; Llorente


Head To Head

In total, these two teams have met on 20 occasions. Sevilla have won 10 of those matches, with Levante recording five victories and the further five fixtures ending level.

In terms of recent meetings, Sevilla were 2-1 victors in the reverse match last season, but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw at the Estadio Ramon.

Somewhat surprisingly, Sevilla have only won one of their last eight league games against Levante, having previously enjoyed a run of nine straight victories from 2001 to 2011.


Sports Mole Logo

We say: Levante 0-2 Sevilla

Sevilla have been disappointing thus far this season, but they will be confident of returning to winning ways in Valencia.

It is difficult to see where the goals are coming from in this Levante side and we believe that the visitors will ultimately claim all three points in routine fashion.



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Pedro of Barcelona celebrates scoring their fifth goal past Beto of Sevilla in extra time during the UEFA Super Cup between Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Dinamo Arena on August 11, 2015
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