In Matchday 5 of 38 in the Spanish first division, Lopetegui’s Sevilla FC takes on Ronald Koeman’s FC Barcelona. Both teams are off to an excellent start in La Liga this season, with Sevilla and FC Barcelona winning both of their games. With FC Barcelona looking to redeem themselves after a horrific last campaign, and Sevilla continuing their red hot form last season, it will be interesting to see which team comes out on top in this fixture.
Sevilla had an excellent last season finishing fourth in La Liga and winning the Europa League. They started the new season with a well-fought narrow loss against the European Champions Bayern Munich. Even though they’ve started the La Liga with two wins out of two, they still don’t look 100%. Both wins were courtesy of goals in the extra time and have looked scratchy with their finishing since the start of the season.
Sevilla’s Centre back duo of Kounde and Carlos have been quite solid and are touted as one of the best young centre-backs. They are pacy, solid, and have great ball distribution especially Kounde. Leo’s interest in Kounde speaks volumes of his quality. Navas at the right has redeemed himself and has been excellent for Sevilla for the past few seasons. His off the ball runs, drawing players to himself, crossing have all been magnificent. Acuna and Navas could play a key role in seeing Barca ‘s defensive weakness at the wings.
After the exit of their own magician, they have brought in Rakitic from Barca which is already proving to be a great signing. The main job of the midfield is ball distribution to the wings. They are tasked with the instant progression of the ball on the pitch to the advanced areas of the pitch. As Sevilla’s fullbacks like to venture forward, they also act as a defensive cover to them hence giving them much-needed stability.
L. De Jong hasn’t had the best start to this season with his counterpart Nesyri in much better form. However, L. De Jong to be the target man for Sevilla. Ocampos has been one of the best players for Sevilla and he will be looking to continue his red hot form. Suso has been more of a silent yet a very important piece in this Sevilla side and could cause problems with his pinpoint crossing and creativity. Sevilla will once again look to attack Barçelona from the wings where they are the most vulnerable. Having a tall target man in L. De Jong and off the ball runners in Suso and Ocampos they would love to take the fight to FC Barcelona by pressing them high.
From the movement of the fullbacks to the exploitation of space by the wingers, this dynamic attacking approach of Sevilla with the free-flowing movement of the Sevilla players might be too hot to handle for FC Barcelona.
FC Barcelona finished the 2019-2020 season trophyless and in a very disappointing manner. After the disastrous season, head coach Quique Setien was sacked and former Barcelona player and legend Ronald Koeman was given the helm. With the club’s all-time third top scorer switching over to league rivals Atletico De Madrid, a huge void was left in form of a target man to lead the lineup front for Barcelona. It was also expected from Barcelona’s aging defense to leak goals in and out, especially without their charismatic goalkeeper out. But it appears that Ronald Koeman’s men have silenced all their haters. After a convincing 4-0 home victory over a resurgent Villarreal and the away curse broken by a 3-0 hammering of Celta Vigo at the Balaidos, FC Barcelona are looking good.
FC Barcelona ’s center-back Duo of Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet had been superb in the first 2 matches,. However, Lenglet received a red card against Celta Vigo leading to his suspension for the game against his former club Sevilla. Barcelona, however, has a marvelous backup in the form of La- Masia star Ronald Araujo. Ronald Araujo has already impressed Ronald Koeman and it was evident from his performances whenever relied upon.
On the right, Sergi Roberto has been rejuvenated. His performances in both the games have been amazing. FC Barcelona also has made a superb signing in form Dest. Expect him to come off the bench and give the cules a show of his skills. Jordi Alba on the left has also been amazing. His forward runs and link up with the child prodigy Ansu Fati shows his importance. Sergi Roberto and Jordi Alba will play a keen role in keeping the Sevilla wingers at bay. Both the center-backs Gerard Pique and Ronald Araujo will be playing an important role in keeping Luuk De Jong/ El Nesyri at bay.
Midfield and Attack:
Barca ’s Double Pivot in the form of Frenkie De Jong and Sergio Busquets has been phenomenal. They’ve been a huge support to the 3 midfielders upfront who like to go up front and cause havoc in the opposition. Expect them to have a similar game like the past two ones.
Barcelona’s magician I.e. Phillipe Coutinho has been in a very amazing game. After returning from Bayern Munich, Coutinho has had very amazing games. Ansu Fati has been explosive notching goals whenever possible. Antoine Griezmann hasn’t been at his best but he has been providing support to the team. Expect him to play a good role today and hopefully also get on the scoresheet. Lionel Messi has always been at his usual best and Sevilla are his favorite opponents.
Expect the game to be a close game. Sevilla’s attack, especially Ocampos will be a big threat to the Barca defense. Neto will have to give his best match to keep the Seville attack at bay. Phillipe Coutinho will be looking to extend his phenomenal form and harm Sevilla. Lionel Messi will be looking to again extend his tally against his favorite opponents.
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