WILL OCAMPOS’ INJURY DERAIL SEVILLA?
The defining image of the weekend was Sevilla attacking midfielder Lucas Ocampos writhing in agony as he was carried off on a stretcher after Getafe’s Djene Dakonam trod on his ankle.
Sevilla went on to win 3-0 for a seventh straight victory in all competitions but their relentless run will be severely tested while Ocampos recovers.
One of the heroes of last year’s Europa League triumph, the Argentine has fuelled Sevilla’s rise this season with four goals and four assists and was the dominant player against Getafe before his participation was painfully cut short.
His absence could hardly come at a worse time for Sevilla, who face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey semifinals and have a Champions League last-16 tie with Borussia Dortmund in the next month plus seven league games before Ocampos is set to return.
CHAOS REIGNS AT BARCA BUT HOW LONG WILL WINNING RUN LAST?
Barcelona have always aspired to play thrilling football and no-one could accuse them of being dull after Sunday’s 3-2 comeback win at Real Betis, which followed a 5-3 Copa del Rey extra-time victory at Granada.
Ronald Koeman’s side have won nine of their 11 matches in all competitions this year, scoring 28 goals while conceding 13.
Barca’s continued weakness in defence and habit for serious lapses of concentration mean their chances of winning a major trophy still look slim, but their determination and never-say-die spirit sure is making for an unforgettable ride.
MADRID DOWN TO THE BARE BONES
Real Madrid won La Liga last season largely due to having a varied squad bulging with talent but their human resources have been severely depleted to the point that they have only 12 first team players available for Tuesday’s game with Getafe.
With Sergio Ramos and Eden Hazard injured, Real had to fill the bench with reserves team players for Saturday’s scrappy win at Huesca and they must now scrape around for more players with Toni Kroos suspended and defenders Alvaro Odriozola and Eder Militao carrying knocks.
Real’s problems can partly be put down to horrendous luck with injuries but coach Zinedine Zidane must also shoulder some of the blame for the lack of depth in the squad.
After offloading Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez last year, Real made no new signings and last month sent Luka Jovic and Martin Odegaard out on loan after they failed to impress the Frenchman.