PREVIEW: Sevilla v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW: Sevilla v FC Barcelona

The last game of 2021 is a trip to the club currently second in the league - and with a chance to end the year in the Champions League places

Just three days after beating Elche 3-2, FC Barcelona are back in action on Tuesday night in the last game of 2021. And it’s a huge one. It’s the trip to high-flying Sevilla, which was postponed earlier this season due to the clash with World Cup qualifiers in the Conmebol zone.

Barça go into this game in eighth place, but three points from this game in hand would change matters considerably – potentially meaning that the team could even move up to the Champions League places. Three points are what currently separate the Catalans from fourth placed Rayo Vallecano.

Last five games

Dec 18 (LIGA) Barça 3-2 Elche
Dec 14 (MARADONA CUP) Barça 1-1 (p) Boca Juniors
Dec 12 (LIGA) Osasuna 2-2 Barça
Dec 8 (UCL) Bayern Munich 3-0 Barça
Dec 4 (LIGA) Barça 0-1 Real Betis

Dec 18 (LIGA) Sevilla 2-1 Atlético Madrid
Dec 15 (COPA DEL REY) Andratx 1-1 (p) Sevilla
Dec 11 (LIGA) Athletic 0-1 Sevilla
Dec 8 (UCL) RB Salzburg 1-0 Sevilla
Dec 4 (LIGA) Sevilla 1-0 Villarreal

Head to head

Considering the Sevilla of recent years is one of the strongest ever, Barça have had some extraordinarily good results against them. Incredibly, they have only lost one of their last 28 league games with them (a 2-1 win for Sevilla in 2015).

With 11 wins in 20 visits, Barça is the team with the most league victories at the Sanchez Pizjuan this century.

Last ten meetings:
03/03/21 (C DEL REY) Barça 3 (Dembélé, Piqué, Braithwaite) Sevilla 0
27/02/21 (LIGA) Sevilla 0 Barça 2 (Dembélé, Messi)
10/02/21 (C DEL REY) Sevilla 2 Barça 0
04/10/20 (LIGA) Barça 1 (Coutinho) Sevilla 1
19/06/20 (LIGA) Sevilla 0 Barça 0
06/10/19 (LIGA) Barça 4 (Suárez, Vidal, Dembélé, Messi) Sevilla 0
23/02/19 (LIGA) Sevilla 2 Barça 4 (Messi 3, Suárez)
30/01/19 (C DEL REY) Barça 6 Coutinho 2, Rakitic, S Roberto, Suárez, Messi) Sevilla 1
23/01/19 (C DEL REY) Sevilla 2 Barça 0
20/10/18 (LIGA) Barça 4 (Coutinho, Messi, Suárez, Rakitic) Sevilla 2


Sevilla form guide

However, the challenge is a huge one. Sevilla are one of the most in-form teams in the championship. They’re currently second in the table, and winning this game in hand would close the gap on leaders Real Madrid to just three points.

The Andalusians have only lost two games all season (to Granada and Real Madrid) and have only failed to win one game at the Sánchez Pizjuán (a 2-2 draw with Alavés in November). In fact, only Inter Milan have a better home record in Europe’s big five leagues this season.

Sevilla's duo of centre backs Jules Koundé and Diego Carlos, plus defensive midfielder Fernando Reges, are very much to thank for their team conceding just 12 goals in 17 league games. 0.71 goals a game is the best defensive record in the championship.

Like FC Barcelona, they failed to progress from the group stage of the Champions League (Lille and Red Bull Salzburg advanced from Group G), and they will instead be facing Dinamo Zagreb in the Europa League.

Sevilla players

Most capped internationals
Ivan Rakitić (Croatia, 106), Thomas Delaney (Denmark, 65) Jesús Navas (Spain, 46), Nemanja Gudelj (Serbia, 44), Ludwig Augustinsson (Sweden, 42), Youssef_En-Nesyri  (Morocco, 39), Marcos Acuña (Argentina, 39), Yassine Bounou (Morocco, 33), Eric Lamela (Argentina, 25)

mini_2020-10-04 BARCELONA-SEVILLA 19

Barça connections
Croatian midfielder Ivan Rakitić (pictured above) requires no introduction after making 200 appearances and winning a wealth of trophies at Barça. After six seasons at Camp Nou, he returned to his former club two years ago.
Spanish/Moroccan striker Munir El Haddadi (pictured below) was a Barça B graduate who played 22 games for the senior team before he swapped blaugrana for all-white in 2019 following spells on loan to Valencia and Alavés.
Spanish striker Rafa Mir spent two years on the FC Barcelona youth system, but it was at Valencia where he made his name.

Munir. In his final season with the club in 2018/19 the striker wore the number 19.

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui was a goalkeeper at Barça from 1994 to 1997, but only made five official appearances. Having previously served as manager of Spain and Real Madrid, he took the Sevilla job in 2019, winning the Europa League in his first season.

Top goalscorers 2021/22
Rafa Mir (5), Erik Lamela (4), Lucas Ocampos (4), En-Nesyri (3)
NOTE: Argentine striker Lucas Ocampos is very much the form man up front in the Sevilla ranks. he's scored in each of his team's last four games...

Sevilla are missing firepower up front, with two of the top scorers, Lamela and En-Nesyri out through injury.

Barça team news

The two changes with respect to the side that faced Elche are Gerard Piqué returning from suspension and Ilias Akhomach also getting the nod in replacement for Yusuf Demir who still has a stomach upset.

Sergiño Dest, Ansu Fati, Memphis, Martin Braithwaite, Pedri, Demir and Sergi Roberto are all still injured.

Xavi says

As a player, Espanyol (21) is the only team that Xavi beat more times times than Sevilla (18) as a player. Here's what he has to say going into his first game against them as a coach:

"This is a great opportunity against a direct opponent, but one that does things well. We tend to look abroad at teams like Bayern, but look at what Lopetegui has done with Sevilla. He’s one of the best.”

“Sevilla could win the league this year. We are 16 points behind but there’s a long way to go and we’re not counting anything out. We need to be more competitive and defend better.”


"The other day I didn’t use more reserve team players because of the rules. The delegate Carles Naval warned me and if we’d had a player sent off we’d have lost the three points. It’s a stupid rule.”

“On Saturday we saw the team I want. The first half was exceptional. But we need to sentence games. We are on the right track but there’s still a lot of improving to be done.”

"It’s fine to criticise Ter Stegen but he should also be praised. But people spot goalkeepers’ mistakes more. His footwork is extraordinary. Only Neuer is comparable with him.”

Força Barça
Força Barça

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