Scouting Real Madrid's Competition: Sevilla FC

BARCELONA, SPAIN - OCTOBER 22: Sevilla FC players protest after Federico Fazio of Sevilla FC fouled Andres Iniesta of FC Barcelona to give away a penalty during the La Liga match between FC Barcelona and Sevilla FC at Camp Nou on October 22, 2011 in Barcelona, Spain. (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

Nobody knows what to expect from Sevilla anymore. They no longer have a chance to get a spot in the Champions League, so now their goal is to qualify for the Europe League. Negredo, Jesús Navas and José Antonio Reyes are Sevilla's most dangerous players, but they also have Gary Medel, Trochowski or Ivan Rakitic to complete their midfield.

Even though Real Madrid has managed to get easy wins in these past two years, the Estadio Sánchez Pizjuán always proves a tough challenge.

Jesús Navas is arguably Sevilla's biggest threat. He is one of the quickest wingers in the world, and he will be a very interesting test to see how fit Marcelo is. The Brazilian defender is usually too careless about his defending position, and opposite teams try to counterattack Real Madrid through the right wing. This scenario fits Jesús Navas perfectly, but luckily enough for Real Madrid, Sergio Ramos and Pepe's pace is not something easy to fight against.

José Antonio Reyes is Sevilla's playmaker. He was very young when he left the team on his road to Arsenal. He started well in the British team, but then Wenger loaned him to Real Madrid, where he scored the two goals that allowed Fabio Capello's Real Madrid to clinch la Liga title on 2006. Reyes then learned how to play in the playmaker role in Atlético Madrid. His passing skills are quite interesting, and if it wasn't for his apparent lack of interest, he wouldn't be playing for Sevilla once again.

Former Real Madrid Castilla striker Álvaro Negredo is also an interesting player. He's very tough physically, but he also has the on-the-ball skills needed to score some beautiful goals. He's not a killer, though, and if Pepe and Ramos don't have a bad day, both should be able to stop him.

Sevilla's midfield is quite good as well. Gary Medel is a very defensive-minded player that could cause Mesut Özil some trouble. He fights really hard and he was one of Sevilla's best men when the Andalusian team managed to get a 0-0 draw at the Camp Nou in last season. Trochowski and Rakitic are very streaky. They definitely have the quality to be successful during one game, but they can't perform at that level for a whole year.

Sevilla's defensive line is really weak. When your best defender is Spahic or Fazio, you know you have a problem there. President José María Del Nido sold Martín Cáceres to Juventus during last winter's transfer window. Cáceres was arguably Sevilla's best defender, but the club didn't make a big move for any defensive player during the summer other than Alberto Botía.

They also lost starting goalkeeper Javi Varas. He decided to move to Celta Vigo, where he wouldn't need to fight for his spot. But Varas has been replaced with even a better goalie from Villarreal, former Real Madrid player Diego López. He's very talented, and with the veteran, experienced Andrés Palop on the bench, Sevilla has one of the best pairs of goalkeepers in La Liga BBVA alongside Valencia's Guaita and Diego Alves.

Other important Sevilla players are Manu Del Moral, Fernando Navarro and Coke. Del Moral usually fights for his spot with Reyes, and it will be interesting to see who coach Míchel finally picks. Míchel is not a great coach, but with his roster, he should be able to finish in the 6th or 7th position.

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