Julen Lopetegui uses a classic Spanish style based on ball possession in a 1-4-3-3 formation, although Sevilla do not shy away from a more defensive 1-4-2-3-1 variant with two midfielders supporting the defensive line. In playing with the ball they switch from diamonds in the center to playing in wide areas from where they direct a lot of crosses towards the penalty area.
In defense Sevilla line up narrowly but do not form a very compact formation, which is due to the successive individual press attempts made by the players, as well as the high pressure line. On occasions Lopetegui entrusts his deepest positioned central midfielders with roles supporting the defenders with tasks of aggressive and zonal pressing against any opponent between the lines.
Sevilla press with a high-set line, but attempts to receive the ball are only individual players’ pressing leaps rather than a zonal team effort.
Once they have recovered the ball they play it quickly through the middle with a clear pattern of constantly creating wide overloads. They use the individual skills of their wing-backs (Navas, Acuna) and wingers (Ocampos, Papu Gomez, Lamela) taking advantage of their runs and dribbles. If they fail to break the opponent’s defensive block on the wings, they do not head towards the centre but look for opportunities to cross direct into the box. Crosses are one of Sevilla’s main forms of attack.
The lack of dominant players between the lines means that they rarely use the central channels. Neither do they create quality goal opportunities in the centre, nor do they score many tackles, so both in defence and in attack they direct play to the wide areas. This is the main reason why their activity in the offensive third is short and consists in finding the fastest possible way to transport the ball into the penalty area. The negligence in occupying space in the opponent’s half is due to the fact that Sevilla’s wingers line up very wide, often linking up with other players on the flanks during wide overloads and instead of going down inside between the lines, they look for opportunities to dribble or pass. At the same time the central midfielders position themselves wider in an attempt to dominate the half-spaces. This variant is perfect when playing against teams that line up in a deeper and lower defensive block, as it allows the Sevilla team to unlock the half-spaces by pulling the opponent out of their positions.