EUROPEAN football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the best betting angles for Tuesday night’s contest from Trondheim.
Real Madrid v Sevilla | Tuesday 19.45 | BT Sport
A repeat of the 2014 Super Cup sees Champions League winners Real Madrid take on Europa League victors Seville in the third all-Spanish Super Cup final in a row.
Madrid won on that occasion but Los Blancos head to Norway with a collection of their Euro 2016 stars looking unlikely to feature as Cristiano Ronaldo, Pepe, Toni Kroos and Gareth Bale were all given extended leave over the summer.
As well as the aforementioned quartet, the European giants may take to the field without Karim Benzema in attack. The French forward has struggled to shake-off last season’s back and hip problems and barely featured in the club’s pre-season tour to North America.
It’s been a peculiarly low-key off-season at the Bernabeu with Real opting for continuity after a promising six-month spell under Zinedine Zidane’s tutelage. Alvaro Morata arrives back in the Spanish capital whilst Marcos Asensio also returns to the fold after a loan spell at Espanyol.
In contrast, it’s been another turbulent summer for Sevilla. Head coach Unai Emery moved on to PSG with highly thought-of director of football Monchi also on the verge of an exit before agreeing to stay in Andalusia for another season.
Former Chile boss Jorge Sampaoli has taken the reigns and on the playing-side, Los Rojiblancos have lost top goalscorer Kevin Gameiro, Ever Banega and Grzegorz Krychowiak amongst others.
Luciano Vietto and Ganso are perhaps the best-known names of the nine new signings to come through the revolving Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan door.
Although Madrid’s squad looks likely to be missing five key components on Tuesday night, it’s not too surprising to see Los Blancos chalked up as odds-on 10/11 favourites (Ladbrokes) to take the Super Cup crown with a win in 90 minutes.
Morata has been tipped to lead the line alongside Lucas Vazquez in a new-look 4-4-2 formation. Madridistas will demand another trophy but Zidane’s options do appear a little stretched heading to Trondheim and, although the pre-match odds appear generous, we must bear in mind this really is only a glorified friendly.
The Spanish league campaign begins 10 days after Tuesday’s encounter and unlike their opponents, Sevilla will play twice more before the 19th August kick-ff due to their Spanish Super Cup commitments against Barcelona.
Still, for punters keen to hop on the 7/2 (Betfair) for Andalusians, it may take time for the side from the south to find their feet under a completely new system, style and identity employed by Sampaoli.
Under Emery, Sevilla were largely a counterattacking side and averaged marginally less than 50% possession in each of his three full seasons at the helm. In contrast Sampaoli, who led Chile to success at the 2015 Copa America, wants his teams to dominate their opponents with a high share of possession, clever movement and a stifling high press.
It’s difficult to assume Los Rojiblancos will be able to immediately find their feet and rhythm in their campaign curtain-raiser but they do arrive in good spirits having progressed through their six pre-season friendlies with a perfect record.
Sampaoli has experimented with various formations and configurations and while there are still a few quirks to be ironed out, there have been positive signs that the players are adapting to the demands of their new coach.
It’s been 27 meetings since this pair last produced a stalemate and although recent meetings between these two sides have been goal-filled, I’m not prepared to enter the goals markets with Madrid’s front-three unavailable plus Vietto and Wissam Ben Yedder making their Sevilla debuts.
However, Ronaldo, Benzema and Bale contributed 20 of Real Madrid’s 25 goals they’ve scored against Sevilla since 2012/13 – a significant stat since all three are absent. With that in mind, I’m going to put my faith in the underdogs avoiding defeat in 90 minutes.
Sevilla +0.50 Asian Handicap is available at 15/14 (188BET) and would see us collect should Sampaoli’s side pick up a win or a draw.
Real Madrid v Sevilla – Sevilla +0.50 Asian Handicap (15/14 188BET)