Preview and Prediction
Blaugrana’s positive run under Ronald Koeman is still underway. Scoring seven goals and still keeping clean sheets should signify the fresh start of the Catalan side. This week they will be hosting another tough contender, Sevilla, the current Europa League champions. It will also mark the return of Ivan Rakitic to Camp Nou after being released this summer. The clash of these two top teams in La Liga has always been interesting. Their last encounter was after the restart last season when the Andalusian side held Messi and Co in a goalless draw.
The teams’ previous games
Barcelona sealed another victory this midweek. This time they dismantled Celta 3-0 at Estadio Balaidos. Ansu Fati bagged an opener again. Lucas Olaza’s own goal doubled their lead after trying to block Messi’s strike. Finally, Sergi Roberto closed the score sheet before the final whistle.
Sevilla, on the other hand, was struggling to thump Levante. They had to wait till the last minute for the winning goal, which was scored by Youssef En-Neysri’s header. It was the only goal of this game, which took place in the midweek
Ronald Koeman is still likely to deploy his favourite 4-2-3-1. Leo Messi is no longer the only one they rely on to score, despite that fact that his role in the team is still fairly dominant. Koeman needs to put Griezmann as the mobile targetman, while Messi, Coutinho and Ansu Fati will be operating behind him and constantly swapping positions. On the injury table, only Marc Ter-Stegen, Samuel Umtiti and Junior Firpo are still ruled out. Another one misses the game is Clement Lenglet who was sent off in the previous game.
His counterpart, Julen Lopetegui has always been opting for 4-3-3 formation. Lucas Ocampos, Luuk De Jong or Munir El Haddadi plus Youssef Neyseri are still the key man upfront. Carlos Fernandez whose impressive form in Granada last season helped his team qualify to the continental competition can come off the bench to break the deadlock.
Players to watch
Lionel Messi might have to be satisfied as the second best of the club’s top performer this season as Ansu Fati has been explosive in the first two games with three goals from the open play so far. Another notable name to watch is Phillip Coutinho.
Meanwhile, Lucas Ocampos is definitely the vital figure on the attack. His supports should be coming up from Suso and Luuk de Jong, the opportunist striker at the penalty box, whose positioning and aerial duel has been quite excellent. Some other key figures here are Jules Kundo and two formers of Barcelona man, Ivan Rakitic and Munir el-Haddadi.
Barcelona vs Sevilla Prediction
Another game at home means three points are a must for Ronald Koeman’s men, especially if they intend to make this season La Liga as one solo run in a title race. As long as they can keep their impressive form, the Catalan side should have no difficulty in sealing a win here. However, Sevilla’s defense line would be another test for Messi and Co, whether they could score or would be frustrated again as in their previous meetings. A narrow win for Barcelona is still very likely.
The clash is expected to be even yet the punters have their doubts to back on Sevilla. Julen Lopetegui’s men are only backed to win at 5.50 whereas Blaugrana’s win market is much higher at 1.57. The odds for the draw result are at 4.20.