Match Preview: Barcelona vs Sevilla
Competition: La Liga 2020/21
Matchday: Matchday 3
Date and Time: Thursday; 4 October; 9:00 PM CET
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Referee: Jesus Gil Manzano, Spain
After another imposing win against Celta Vigo away in the midweek, Barcelona is back in action in La Liga to play against Europa League winner Sevilla. This will be Barca’s most significant game so far this season, and with Sevilla being a great side, this game will be a fun one.
Barcelona beat Celta Vigo at the Estadio de Balaidos in a very convincing 3-0 victory with another goal from the youngster Ansu Fati, an own-goal by Lucas Olaza after a sublime dribble from Messi and a beautiful half-volley from Sergi Roberto to close the game and wrap up the win. Considering that Barcelona has a dismal away record, this game was very refreshing to see with Koeman showing his worth as a manager. So far, Barcelona has scored seven goals in two games and kept clean sheets in both games.
Sevilla meanwhile, has a similar record. They have won two games from two after beating newly promoted Cadiz 3-1 and Levante 1-0. Currently, they sit in 8th place, one place behind Barcelona. The main storyline coming into this game is about Ivan Rakitic’s return to Camp Nou after leaving to Sevilla. Sevilla is a very dangerous side with ex-Barca players like Munir and Rakitic, and other talents like Luuk De Jong and Lucas Ocampos.
Sevilla has always been a historically great team, but Barcelona has a much better record at home against the Palanganas. The last outing saw Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-0 and before that, thrashed them 6-1 at home.
Head to Head
19/06/20 (Laliga): Sevilla 0-0 FC Barcelona
06/10/19 (Laliga): FC Barcelona 4-0 Sevilla
23/02/19 (Laliga): Sevilla 2-4 FC Barcelona
30/01/19 (Copa del rey): FC Barcelona 6-1 Sevilla
23/01/19 (Copa del rey): Sevilla 2-0 FC Barcelona
Team News and Expected Lineup
Barcelona is without Marc-Andre Ter Stegen due to knee injury, Samuel Umtiti, due to his persistent knee problems. Junior Firpo, who missed the games against Villarreal and Vigo, is a doubt for this game as well. Meanwhile, Clement Lenglet is out due to a suspension after he picked up a red card against Vigo.
In goalkeeping, I expect Neto to start again after keeping two clean sheets in two games. Sergi Roberto should start at right-back again with Sergiño Dest starting training only a few days ago and is at risk of not being registered for this game. The centre-back pairing is definite, as well. Gerard Pique should start alongside Ronald Araujo with Jean-Clair Todibo linked with a move to Fulham. Araujo impressed after getting subbed on midweek and showed his worth with his distribution and defending ability. Finally, Jordi Alba, who was the man of the match in the first game, will complete the defence.
In midfield, Koeman prefers the double-pivot and should stick with that in this game as well. It is set in stone that Frenkie De Jong will start, while the other midfield spot has a lot of competition between Miralem Pjanic, who is yet to start for the club, and Sergio Busquets, who was poor against Villarreal but class against Vigo. I expect Pjanic to be handed his debut in this game.
In attack, Barcelona has plenty of options. The trifecta of Ansu Fati, Lionel Messi and Phillipe Coutinho has been performing very well and should start the upcoming game. The final attacking spot seems to be a mix-up between Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, Pedri and Francisco Trincao. Griezmann has not been up to the mark recently and should be replaced with Dembele or Trincao. I believe that Dembele will start in his natural right-wing position.
Considering the form that both teams are coming into, I expect this game to be a high-scoring matchup between the sides. My prediction is that Barcelona beat Sevilla 4-2 in this match preview.