A new look Sevilla under Jorge Sampaoli

A new look Sevilla under Jorge Sampaoli
Aug 9, 2016

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Sevilla appointed Jorge Sampaoli and handed the former Chile manager a two-year deal. There were months of speculation on where the Argentine would end up but he finally decided to apply his trade at the La Bombanera. Sampaoli has had a different journey into European football, managing in Chile, Ecuador, and Peru. And at the tender age of 56, he’s finally got his long-awaited crave at managing a top European club in Sevilla. It was at Universidad de Chile where Sampaoli would start to build his reputation in the South American world. It didn’t take him long to get the taste of silverware as he won back to back league titles, the Torneo Clausura and the Copa Sudamericana in the year and a half he was there. It was only a matter of time till Chile’s football association came calling for Sampaoli’s expertise, and on the 3rd December 2012, the easy decision was confirmed that Sampaoli would be the new manager of the Chile national team. He made an instant impact on the side, imposing his energetic, all out attack style of play. this taking his side to the last 16 of the 2014 World Cup and unfortunately getting knocked out on penalties, in a game they really should have won. Sampaoli’s and Chile’s hard work finally paid off after they won the Copa America on their own soil, beating his native country Argentina on penalties.

Under Unai Emery, Sevilla were most of the time, a defensive but counter attacking team that enjoyed just under 50% possession on average. His attacking, creative players were drilled to dig in deep and help out with the defensive work. That style is gone now, along with key players such as Ever Banega, Kevin Gameiro and Grzegorz Krychowiak who followed Emery to PSG. Reyes and Coke who are both held in high regard by the Sevilla fans have also left the club, two players that were very vocal and influential in the dressing room. Sampaoli has and will change all of that, saying “My footballing philosophy is that my team should utterly dominate games. My ambition is for Sevilla not to win by any means, but to lay down a style and a way of playing that means we don’t feel inferior to anyone.” The problem with the Sevilla team in La Liga last season was that they were terrible away from home, they didn’t know how to close a game out or hang onto a two-goal lead. This largely could be down to the  rotation of players Emery imposed away from home which caused severe inconsistency, especially in defense.

Sampaoli has often been compared to his fellow Argentinian Marcelo Bielsa, with the way he sets up his team, his tactical flexibility and he openly admitted that his style is based on Bielsa, with the way he sets up his team, his tactical flexibility, He recently said “At first I loved Bielsa, then I took things from Guardiola, I like to mix things up and not be dogmatic. When there are ten religions and you only have one, you are missing out on the other nine.” However, there is a slight difference between the two, Sampaoli’s variation of formations where he opts for a back four rather than a back three. Depending on the team, Sampaoli would switch to a 4312 to match the opposition on which Bielsa would stick with a single pivot in midfield. Sampaoli preferred a fusion of different qualities in the center using Vidal’s energy and power to Aranguiz’ tactical awareness, precise passing and to top it off, Valdivia’s rhythmic movement behind the strikers. This style differentiated depending on the versatility of the players at his disposal. He was lucky to inherit a squad with the likes of Sanchez, Vidal, Medel, Matias Fernandez, Isla etc, who can all play in separate roles within any formation. Chile was a clone of his Universidad de Chile side, prioritized a 343 with high-intensity pressing, non-stop movement, and a transition to get the ball up the pitch rather quickly by using fast, short 6 yards passes, effectively looking like organized chaos.

What can Sampaoli do with Sevilla? so far, the Spanish club has spent £47.77M on Franco Vazquez, Joaquin Correa, Ganso, Ben Yedder, Kiyotake, Mercado, Pablo Sarabia and finally, Vietto and Kranevitter who’s been very impressive in pre season, joining on loan from Atletico Madrid. If you notice, the attacking players that have come in can all play in various forward roles. Vazquez, who was described as the best trequartista in Italy last season, who in my book, despite having a poor pre season, will be Sevilla’s player of the year due to the fact that he fits the style of Sampaoli perfectly. The way he links the midfield to attack, a much more advanced player than Valdivia at Chile. The 56-year old has promised the Sevilla fans that he will bring exciting attack football by saying “Undoubtedly I am a person who is tremendously passionate about attacking. They will see me as a coach who will never attempt to cede the spotlight. And for that we need a lot of spirit spread to the group of players so we try to make this team respected throughout Europe, as it is now.” It’s an exciting time to be a Sevilla fan, different players, a different style, but a man that will get results in the most exciting way possible.

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