Preview: Sevilla v FC Barcelona
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Its fourth against first on Saturday (4.15pm CET) as FC Barcelona look to consolidate their strong lead in La Liga at Sevilla, one of the toughest away trips in the competition and a ground where they have already been beaten once this season.
That was in the Copa del Rey, and although Barça eventually powered through by winning the second leg 6-1, Ernesto Valverde rightly observed at his pre-match conference that the Andalusians may have struggled on the road this season, but their form at the Sanchez Pizjuán has been consistently good.
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Leo Messi has scored more goals against Sevilla in all competitions (33) than against any other team. But only nine of those goals have been scored at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
Philippe Coutinho also tends to peak against the Andalusians. He’s scored four goals and given two assists in his six meetings with them since joining Barça.
Clement Lenglet and Ivan Rakitic are both playing against the former team. The Croatian has three times against his former team in the past, twice this season.
Arturo Vidal and Clement Lenglet are both one yellow card away from a suspension that would means missing next week’s Clásico with Real Madrid.
The last quarter of an hour could prove very decisive in this game. Here’s why!
Four previous meetings in 2018/19
Spanish Super Cup (Tangier, Morocco)
Sevilla 1 (Sarabia) FC Barcelona 2 (Piqué, Dembélé)
FC Barcelona 4 (Coputinho, Messi, Suárez, Rakitic) Sevilla 2 (Lenglet OG, Muriel)
Copa del Rey
Sevilla 2 (Sarabia, Ben Yedder) FC Barcelona 0
FC Barcelona 6 (Coutinho 2, Suárez, Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, Messi) Sevilla 1 (Arana)
Barça are seven points ahead of Atlético Madrid, who host Villarreal on Sunday at 4.15pm CET, while Real Madrid, eight points adrift and hosting FC Barcelona next weekend, at Levante on Sunday at 8.45pm CET.
FULL LIGA TABLE
Sevilla in mourning
Roberto Alés, president of Sevilla from February 2000 to May 2002, sadly passed away this week and the home club will surely be looking to honour his memory in the best possible way. Here at FC Barcelona we also express our deepest condolences and sympathies.
On a happier note, the club successfully gained passage to the last sixteen of the Europa League this week, a competition they have won an incredible five times this century. After eliminating Lazio, they learned on Friday that they will be meeting FC Krasnodar of Russia in the next round.
THE LOWDOWN ON SEVILLA FC
Arthur, Rafinha, Jasper Cillessen and Thomas Vermaelen are all injured, while Ernesto Valverde has also opted not to take Jean-Clair Todibo, Sergi Samper or Kevin-Prince Boateng.
FULL BARÇA SQUAD HERE
There are question marks over the fitness of key Sevilla man Jesus Navas, but he has been included in the squad, but there are no places for former Barça men Aleix Vidal and Nolito. Sergi Gómes and Munir, however, are in the team.
Sevilla manager Pablo Machin: "“Barça have always played their best against us, I think it’s because they respect us. I hope for a game like the cup first leg. The difference against them in the second leg was that they took their chances.”
Barça boss Ernesto Valverde - in the video below!
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