We wrap up our pre-season campaign on home turf when we take on Sevilla in the Emirates Cup on Saturday afternoon, aiming to claim the trophy for the sixth time.
Standing in our way will be Los Nervionenses - an opponent no stranger to us having competed in the summer competition back in 2017, and who should prove a stern test ahead of next weekend’s Premier League kick-off.
To get you in the mood for the game, here’s a handy guide to our visitors:
Sevilla were founded in 1890, and are Spain’s oldest sporting club solely devoted to football. While their only La Liga title came in 1945/46, they have been hugely successful in cup competitions, winning five Copa del Reys, a Spanish Super Cup and a record six Europa League titles, all coming between 2006 and 2020.
That run began by thrashing Middlesbrough 4-0 in the 2006 final, and 12 months later they pipped compatriots Espanyol on penalties. Having had future Tottenham manager Juande Ramos at the helm for those victories, Unai Emery would lead them to a hat-trick of successes, beating Benfica on spot-kicks in 2014, Dnipro in 2015 and a 3-1 triumph over Liverpool in 2016. They would add a sixth in 2020 after beating Inter Milan 3-2.
That 2020 Europa League triumph came under the guidance of Julen Lopetegui, who has been in charge of the club since 2019. A goalkeeper in his playing days who represented both Real Madrid and Barcelona as well as winning a single cap for Spain, he began his coaching career with Real Vallecano and Real Madrid B, before winning the UEFA U19 and U21 European Championships for his country.
After 18 months at Porto, he was named Spain manager and guided them to the 2018 World Cup, but was sacked on the eve of the tournament after accepting the Real Madrid manager’s job, a stint that lasted just 14 matches. The following summer he arrived at Sevilla and ended his first campaign by claiming European glory.
The first half of last season saw Sevilla battling with Real Madrid at the top of the table, going 15 games unbeaten between December and March. However, after the turn of the year they drew 11 of their final 18 games to slip to fourth place, but still gain Champions League qualification.
In that competition, they finished third in a group containing Lille, Salzburg and Wolfsburg before dropping into the Europa League, where they were eliminated by West Ham United in the round of 16 - the same stage they reached in the Copa del Rey as they suffered a painful defeat to city rivals Real Betis.
The current squad
There are plenty of former Premier League stars within Sevilla’s ranks, such as Jesus Navas who captains the club, while his former Manchester City teammate Fernando is also part of the squad. Ex-Tottenham man Erik Lamela joined 12 months ago, while winger Suso played 21 times for Liverpool.
Veteran Ivan Rakitic still pulls the strings in midfield, while Marcos Acuna, Lucas Ocampos, Papu Gomez and Gonzalo Montiel are all regulars for Argentina. Serbian international goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic spent 18 months at Charlton Athletic, while former Manchester City youngster Karim Rekik is the brother of our under-23 defender Omar.
Rafa Mir was last season’s top scorer with 13 goals in all competitions, and previously featured for Wolves and Nottingham Forest, while Moroccan striker Youssef En-Nesyri is also capable of finding the net regularly.
Only one summer recruit has been added with Brazilian centre-back Marcao arriving from Galatasaray, filling the void left by the big money departures of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde, who joined Aston Villa and Barcelona respectively.
Pre-season so far
Lopetegui saw his side kick off their summer by drawing 1-1 with Tottenham in South Korea, before beating Sporting Lisbon on penalties after recording the same scoreline.
On Wednesday they thrashed Angers 6-0 in Portugal, with six different players getting on the scoresheet, and following our game they take on Leicester City at 6pm on Sunday.
Links with Arsenal
The sides faced each other in the group stages of the 2007/08 Champions League, with us recording a 3-0 home victory thanks to goals from Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie and Eduardo, before slipping to a 3-1 defeat in Spain.
Sevilla also got the better of us in the 2017 Emirates Cup by winning 2-1, however we still took the trophy on goals scored, while we played out a 1-1 draw in the 2008 edition of the Amsterdam Tournament.
Players who have played for both clubs include Julio Baptista, Samir Nasri, Sebastien Squillaci and of course Jose Antonio Reyes, who is being paid tribute to at Emirates Stadium when the sides meet.
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