Sevilla vs Barcelona: Preview and Prediction￼
Sevilla is known to be perhaps the most consistent team in Spain barring the top three, but they have not got going at all this season. Julen Lopetegui’s men have lost two of the three matches they have played so far, while only managing to secure a draw in the other match.
Barcelona, on the other hand, has had a fairly decent start as they are among the only five teams who are yet to lose a match in this season’s La Liga. They have won two of their three games, whilst drawing the other match.
More than the results, Sevilla fans are frustrated with their team’s performances because they were up against comparatively weaker opponents in all of their first three matches. In the first game, Los Nervionenses lost 1-2 against Osasuna.
The second match saw Lopetegui’s team draw 1-1 against Real Valladolid, and while the performance was not up to the mark in this match as well, Sevilla did well to score a late goal to earn a point. However, that did not boost their morale as they lost 2-1 against Almeria in their last match.
Despite what the points table might suggest, Barcelona did not have the best of the starts. Against Rayo Vallecano, they could only play out a goalless draw in their first match. However, Xavi’s men have not had to look back ever since.
In their second match, a dominant Barcelona side handed Real Sociedad a comprehensive 4-1 defeat. The performance was even better in their last match, where the Catalans defeated Real Valladolid 4-0.
Head to Head Record
The head-to-head records are heavily skewed in Barcelona’s favour, as they have won 36 of the 64 outings against Sevilla. Los Nervionenses have beaten the Catalans only 12 times, with 16 matches ending in stalemates.
The first encounter in last season’s La Liga saw both teams playing out a 1-1 draw, with Papu Gomez and Ronald Araujo getting their names on the score-sheet. In the return leg, a late strike from Pedri helped Barcelona secure all three points.
Lopetegui is set to miss two key players in Marcao and Jesus Manuel Corona owing to injuries, while Karim Rekik is yet to make a full recovery and this game could come a bit too early for him. However, Marcos Acuna has served his suspension and will be available for selection.
The Spanish tactician is likely to stick to his preferred 4-3-3 formation. Jesus Navas, Tanguy Nianzou, Jose Angel Carmona and Marcos Acuna are likely to form the four-man backline, with Joan Jordan, Fernando and Thomas Delaney stationed in the midfield. The onus of scoring goals will be on the attacking trio of Erik Lamela, Rafa Mir and Gomez.
Xavi will enjoy the luxury of picking his starting XI from a completely fit squad after Danish central defender Andreas Christensen recovered from his illness. We could expect Barcelona to line up in the 4-3-3 formation.
Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia and Alejandro Balde could form the defensive quarter, while the task of controlling the tempo in the midfield will be on the shoulders of Gavi, Sergio Busquets and Pedri. Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres could be the three attackers.
Predicted Playing XIs
Sevilla: Yassine Bounou; Jesus Navas, Tanguy Nianzou, Jose Angel Carmona, Marcos Acuna; Joan Jordan, Fernando, Thomas Delaney; Erik Lamela, Rafa Mir, Papu Gomez.
Barcelona: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Eric Garcia, Alejandro Balde; Gavi, Sergio Busquets, Pedri; Ousmane Dembele, Robert Lewandowski, Ferran Torres.
Be it head-to-head records or current form, everything seems to be working in Barcelona’s favour. While Sevilla certainly has a formidable squad, we have predicted Xavi’s team to win this fixture and extend their unbeaten streak.