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La Liga: Sevilla FC vs FC Barcelona: Match Preview

A preview of Barcelona's La Liga clash with Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan

Manuel Queimadelos Alonso

FC Barcelona will be desperate to return to winning ways tomorrow evening when they take on Sevilla FC at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Following a surprise 3-2 home defeat at the hands of Valencia, Barcelona have relinquished control at the top of La Liga and could start tomorrow's meeting in third place, depending on the result of Real Madrid's clash with Villareal at the Santiago Bernabeu. Anything less than a win against Sevilla, and Barça run the risk of falling out of immediate contention.

And any Culé will be able to tell you that a trip to Andalusia is a daunting proposition at the best of times, let alone based on current form. Fortunately, Sevilla are suffering a slump of their own having failed to win in each of their last four matches, including a 3-2 home defeat of their own against Levante. In that sense, maybe this match isn't as awkwardly timed as first feared; if Barcelona put in the effort tomorrow, they should definitely travel back to Catalunya with the three points in the bag.

Even with Jordi Alba and Javier Mascherano suspended, Gerardo Martino has an exceptionally strong squad at his disposal and despite the criticism after that loss against Valencia, the team looked good against Real Sociedad in midweek. Can they carry that momentum forward with a win in enemy territory, or are the Blaugrana genuinely faltering in this intense title race?



Neymar continues his recovery from injury and will therefore miss out (time is running out however for him to make a return before the trip to Manchester) while Isaac Cuenca and Ibrahim Afellay have both been left in Barcelona. That's hardly a surprising decision from Gerardo Martino, nor do we expect to see many shocks in the starting line-up.

Victor Valdés will start in goal searching for his first clean sheet of the month, although much will depend on the form of his defense. In the absence of Alba and Mascherano, Gerard Pique and Dani Alves will likely be joined in defense by Adriano Correia and Marc Bartra. Both have impressed in their appearances this season and it's testament to Barça's squad depth that we can suffer two suspensions in our back line and feel confident about our chances.

In midfield, an improvement is required from Sergio Busquets, who put in arguably his worst performance in a Barcelona jersey last week against Los Che. Thankfully, Busi is a tremendous player, and that improvement should come naturally. Andres Iniesta should start alongside him tomorrow after seeing a little more of the bench than he is accustomed to in previous weeks, while both Xavi and Cesc Fabregas could fill the final spot. To keep the pressure off the defense, I'd try to keep the game from becoming stretched and start Xavi, but Cesc is in incredible form and his direct approach could be vital if he starts again.

In attack, it's fairly obvious that Pedro, Alexis Sanchez and Lionel Messi will team up again; Cristian Tello is a great player, but he just isn't on their level. And in a match like this, we need our best and brightest on the field.


Stephane M'bia misses out through injury while Coke is ruled out as he serves a suspension. Former Chelsea midfielder Marko Marin has returned to Germany for personal reasons and therefore will not take part tomorrow, but Unai Emery will be able to call upon Dani Carrico and Jairo, who both return to the squad for this crunch match.


Barcelona: DWWWLW

Sevilla: WWDDLL


FC Barcelona 3-2 Sevilla FC -- 14th September 2013 -- La Liga

Sevilla must have thought that they had snatched a point when Coke grabbed a 90th minute equaliser, but Alexis Sanchez' dramatic winner in the fourth minute of injury time sealed the three points for Martino's side.


Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Alves, Bartra, Pique, Adriano; Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas; Alexis, Messi, Pedro

Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Beto; Diogo, Pareja, Fazio, Moreno; Carrico, Iborra; Jairo, Rakitic, Vitolo; Bacca


I was tempted to go for another 3-2 win, but I'm feeling optimistic and going for a 4-2 instead.

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