Preview and Prediction
The first leg of Copa del Rey semifinal is on this midweek. Sevilla will be playing host against Barcelona. Both teams are on their positive trend in La Liga and are bound to strive for a win here. However, it’s Blaugrana which will have to be more careful as they have not been able to win in the last two encounters.
Both teams’ previous games
Sevilla continued their win last weekend after smashing Getafe 3-0. The game was tight but the wind was on their side after Djene Djokonam was sent off. Munir El-Haddadi opened the scoring at the second half before their new signing Papu Gomez blasted one home from the long-range shot and closed by Youssef En-Neyseri’s goal.
Lionel Messi and Co had to struggle till the last minute again to snatch 3-2 win while taking on Real Betis on the road. Betis took the lead first by Borja Iglesias but Messi found the equaliser on the second half after he came off the bench. Not long after they finally had their lead by Victor Ruiz’s own goal. Both sides then traded goals afterwards. Victor Ruiz found his redemption by netting an equaliser while Trincao scored the winning goal just three minutes before the final whistle.
Julen Lopetegui’s preference is still 4-3-3 but since Lucas Ocampos is injured, the former Barcelona and Madrid goalkeeper could transform it 4-3-1-2 formation to give freer role for Papu Gomez as the number ten behind Youssef En-Neysri and Suso or Luuk De Jong. Another name who has to be on the sideline is Oscar Rodriguez.
Ronald Koeman once again lost Sergi Roberto for another injury plus recently Ronald Araujo. It means they have six names ruled out for this fixture after Gerard Pique, Phillipe Coutinho, Ansu Fati and Moussa Wague. Thus, Koeman will have to play Umtiti and Lenglet or Migueza again at the centre of the defence line while Sergino Dest is back on the right flank. For the second and final third, Koeman is likely to employ the same regular 4-3-3 with Messi starting from the bench.
Players to watch
The Morrocan striker Youssef En-Nesyri is the current club top scorer and competing in El Pichichi as well against Messi and Luis Suarez. He has bagged 13 goals so far. Some other key names to watch are Jules Kounde, Joan Jordan and last but not least, Papu Gomez who notched his first goal for the club last weekend.
Blaugarana’s top performers this season beside the great Messi are Frankie de Jong with three goals and assist each, Antoine Griezmann with six goals and four assists and Ousmane Dembele with two goals and assists each.
Sevilla vs Barcelona Prediction
Both teams will definitely be trading attacks and decent chances but Fernando Reges and Co have proven to be more solid on their backline, while Ronald Koeman’s men are on the opposite. This could pose a danger for them, especially with Papu Gomez on their side. A narrow win for the home side is very likely here.
The Catalan side seems to be the slight favourite. They are backed to win at 5/4, whereas Lopetegui’s men’s odds to win are at 9/4. The draw result is at the value of at 28/11.