Osasuna vs Sevilla: La Liga Preview & Prediction
The 2022/23 La Liga season gets underway on Friday as Osasuna and Sevilla go head-to-head in a curtain-raising fixture on El Sadar.
Despite an inspiring top-half finish last season, Osasuna's effort to strengthen their squad over the summer has never picked up momentum, leaving head coach Jagoba Arrasate with the team from 2021/22.
However, there is plenty of optimism in the home camp as Los Rojillos start the new campaign after introducing several exciting young prospects from their famous 'Cantera.'
As for Sevilla, Isco Alarcon and Alex Telles are the most noticeable summer signings, but long-serving defensive pairing Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde left Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
With their star centre-back duo out, Los Rojiblancos are frantically scouring the market to reinforce their backline that was the mainstay of their fourth-place La Liga finish last season.
Julen Lopetegui's men head into proceedings as slight betting favourites, but Osasuna will have a say as they often had throughout the entire 2021/22 season.
Osasuna's habit of getting a new top-flight season off to a flying start has seen them go unbeaten in their opening La Liga outings across the last four campaigns (W2, D2).
That may not do them much good here, as they have to defy an underwhelming H2H record against Sevilla, having won none of their last ten league meetings (D2, L8).
On top of that, Arrasate's men have drawn a blank in four of their last five La Liga matches against the Andalusian powerhouse (D1, L4), though they held them to a scoreless draw in this corresponding fixture in 2021/22.
Sevilla have had Osasuna's number of late and are unbeaten in their last five La Liga visits to El Sadar (D2, L3), suggesting a ferocious start to the 2022/23 season could be on the cards.
Hold that thought for a moment. Los Rojiblancos have established themselves as 'stalemate specialists' in 2022, with 11 of their last 18 league games ending as a draw.
Sevilla's hopes of overcoming Osasuna will mainly depend on their defensive showing. Lopetegui's side conceded a league-low 30 goals last season while setting an unprecedented record in the club's La Liga history.
None of the last four La Liga encounters between Osasuna and Sevilla have featured over 2.5 goals, with Los Rojillos failing to get on the scoresheet on each occasion.
It takes no rocket science to assume this one should not be bucking that trend, especially as it's only the first day of the season.