PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC

PREVIEW | FC Barcelona v Sevilla FC

A rare Friday evening kick-off (9pm CEST) between last season's winners of La Liga and the Europa League respectively

It's a somewhat atypical schedule this week, with FC Barcelona following up their 2-2 draw at Mallorca on Tuesday with another Liga fixture just three days later in a Friday evening kick-off at home to Sevilla (9pm CEST) that will give both sides a bit of extra time to prepare for their crunch Champions League matches next week.

After dropping points for just the second time this season, the Catalans will be looking bounce back at the Estadi Olímpic against a side that is currently three places above them in the UEFA ranking (10th as opposed to Barça in 13th). But despite the enormity of this tie, Barça have very much had the upper hand in recent years.

Last season's 3-0 wins both home and away continued what is now a run of 15 games without defeat to the Andalusians in all competitions, while two decades have passed since Barça last lost a Liga fixture at home to Sevilla.

How it stands

After moving to the top of the table following the dramatic comeback against Celta, the draw in the Balearic Islands means Barça have immediately dropped back down to third. It is now fellow Catalans Girona who are the the surprise leaders after they won 2-1 at Villarreal on Wednesday, while Real Madrid also capitalised on Barça's setback by beating Las Palmas.

And now there is a huge game coming up on Saturday at 6.30pm as Girona and Real Madrid face each other at Montilivi. It means either the team in first or second place, or maybe even both, are set to drop points this weekend, thus presenting a golden opportunity for Barça to improve their own position.

Sevilla, meanwhile, have a lot of ground to make up after losing all three of their opening games. They are already 10 points adrift of Barça, although their 5-1 drubbing of Almeria on Tuesday suggested that things are changing for the better at the Sánchez Pizjuán.

Team news

Ronald Araujo returned from injury against Mallorca, but Barça continue to miss two key midfield playmakers in Pedri and Frenkie de Jong.

As always, a game with Sevilla means a re-encounter with Ivan Rakitic, who enjoyed six successful years in the blaugrana jersey. It's also going to mean a meet-up with a veteran of no fewer than 45 editions of El Clásico, the great Sergio Ramos, who is now back at his original club after a spell at PSG. No player has ever played Barça as many times as he has.

Two players we won't be seeing are the injured Nianzou and Mariano, while there are question marks concerning the fitness of Marcão, Acuña and Óliver Torres

Did you know?

Both sides have their first Champions League road trips next week. Barça will be looking to make it two wins out of two when they face Porto, while Sevilla will be hoping to improve on their 1-1 draw at home to Lens when they are hosted by PSV Eindhoven.

If you are lucky enough to be going to the game, make doubly sure of getting to the ground early. At the same time as the match, popular Spanish singer Joaquín Sabina is performing in the Palau Sant Jordi next door. Montjuïc is going to be extremely busy this Friday evening and you would be wise to heed the advice that you'll find here.

Xavi says

Xavi spoke to the media ahead of the game, where he admitted that the team's defending has not always been up to scratch this season, and suggesting that lack of concentration has often been to blame. Understandably, he describes Sevilla as a tough challenge and is looking forward to enjoying as much raucous support from the fans as in all games at the Estadi Olímpic this season:


Força Barça
Força Barça

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