Editorial review: Barca vs Sevilla
After two sumptuous win in the opening games, Barca hosted Sevilla at the Camp Nou which ended in 1-1 draw, with Barca equalizing through Philipe Coutinho‘s first goal league goal for Barcelona after returning. It was a tough fixture for Barcelona and Barca and Sevilla remain undefeated in Laliga with two wins and one draw, alongside Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
A fair draw with a few positives
Barcelona seem to have shown a few positives today, especially against an adamant and in-form Sevilla. Sevilla at the moment are a force to be reckoned with, not just in Spanish football but in the European stage as well. The Europa cup winners have managed to even hold off arguably the best Bayern side in the past 6-7 years.
Sevilla’s fluid transitions with their ability to put up a wide range of real-time tactical adaptations, sitting deep as a unit when it’s required and playing really high up the pitch based on the situation have made it hard for teams to figure them out. Paraphrasing Lopetegui, “football isn’t as much about systems as it is about the style, I like to have my teams sit back when needed and attack all out when needed”.
This clashed with Barcelona’s new era, with a major change in the system to a 4-2-3-1. Both teams have been really solid, but one could argue that Sevilla was defensively much tighter compared to Barcelona. However, for the Cules, there are some key positives to take away. Barcelona’s higher intensity saw them press positively in the first half, and the reincorporation of the press seems to be a work in progress.
Apart from that, Barcelona have also been awarded with really few chances, and all eyes are on Griezmann for not converting. Personally, Coutinho has been outstanding to me.
Ansu Fati was marked much more tightly by Navas and Kounde, and he didn’t find space he usually exploits, however, we shouldn’t forget that he’s a 17-year-old and needs to develop.
Alba’s injury seems concerning, but Dest has looked solid in his debut, constantly relieving pressure and marking pacy attackers well. Even though played at LB, he had an excellent performance for a debut. Trincao showed a lot of positives too, really putting the pressure on Griezmann for the starting role on the right side. There seems to be a good link-up between Messi and Trincao. I hope we get to see it develop.
MOTM: Has to be Coutinho for me. He has been excellent from minute one. He seems to have gained confidence playing in a more natural position and presses with the most intensity upfront.
Could have done better
One of the major problems of Barca and its players is, the way they get crushed under pressure. Barca vs Sevilla was one of those games, where the opponent came with a high press. The players like Busquets, Alba, Roberto almost always underperform when they are pressed. In this particular fixture, Alba was doing fine, but Busquets and De jong were awful to be honest, which is why Sevilla got too many chances.
In previous games, against Villarreal and Celta, the opponent didn’t press much; It was Barcelona whose pressing was high, which is why we were the better side. What I didn’t like about Koeman is, De Jong and Busquets were making lots of mistakes in the midfield. It was probably the right time to let Pjanic take over either of their role.
De jong and Busquets stayed till the last minute, and Pjanic was introduced for Coutinho at around 75 mins. Koeman is yet to work on the team while dealing with the opponent with the high defensive line and high press.
Trincao and Pedri were introduced at 60 mins, and both were good; It would be nice to see them getting more mins under Koeman. Especially, Trincao, Provided that he starts as Right winger alongside Messi as Center Forward, that would be an excellent combination for Koeman. Messi seems to be more comfortable with Trincao on the right side rather than Griezmann. Fati was well-controlled by Navas, Messi was pressed a lot too.
Coutinho was doing everything, from running forward, creating chances, winning balls; he also scored the equalizer goal for Barcelona within 2 mins of Sevilla’s goal by Luuk De Jong. That goal came from Messi’s typical long ball towards Alba that felled nicely in Coutinho’s path to score that goal. One of the critical point about Coutinho is, he hesitates less and feels more comfortable now.
Araujo and Pique were solid; Alba was okay and was substituted due to discomfort and Dest made his debut coming as a LB. He played for mere 15 mins, but I am convinced about his quality. Roberto had an average game. It will be interesting to see in the coming days, who will get the support of Koeman, Roberto or Dest?
Overall, with few critical subs, I feel like Koeman could have done better, a draw was good enough but, he just cannot go with same lineups, same subs around same mins in every game. But, yes, it was a tough fixture, so maybe it was fair enough.
MOTM: Coutinho, He was involved a lot in this game, doing both offensive and defensive duties. Honestly, Sevilla were the better side, and Coutinho was the best player from Barca’s side.
A Fair Draw for the Blaugranas:
Koeman’s Barcelona faced their toughest challenge till now with the Catalonians competed against the newly throned UEL Champions Sevilla. Koeman went with the tried and tested lineup, and on the other hand, Seville placed their usual lineup with Acuna coming in as Left Back. The game started well with both the teams fighting for possession.
Seville drew the blood first with their striker Luuk De Jong scoring a powerful shot. Barcelona quickly replied
with a hefty error made by Jesus Navas, resulting in a goal by the Brazilian Coutinho. The game was more transitional. Barcelona tried to take advantage of the space between Sevilla’s 2nd and 3rd line of the press, but the lack of runner in behind the defensive line was making the possession more monotonous.
The incoming subs of Trincao, Pedri, Pjanic created an instant impact due to their fresh legs. Trincao even got in a 1v1 position with the keeper, but Bono made a brilliant reflex to save the shot. In the dying minutes, Barcelona went more attacking to get the winner but, it ended in a draw.
MOTM: Has to be Ronald Araujo. The Uruguayan was rock solid at the back and was making crucial
tackles. Araujo’s strong performances like today will give Lenglet a tough fight for the left