Barcelona started this season in spectacular fashion, but a run of four games without a win has disrupted their great form. They face Sevilla in a hotly-anticipated contest which will decide who will grab pole position.
The upcoming week will be crucial for Barcelona, as they also have to gear up for decisive matches against Inter Milan and Real Madrid. A win against the Andalusians would provide a much-needed lift. So what should Barcelona do to win against Sevilla? Let’s have a look:
Resolve the center-back issue
The center-backs deserve criticism for their average performances and must rise to the occasion. Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen are out, while Clement Lenglet will face his old club. Sevilla are an attacking threat thanks to Ben Yedder and Andre Silva and are showing no signs of stopping. They have won four times in as many league fixtures, and their 3-0 victory against Real Madrid showed what a dangerous side they can be. But things can be on our side if Gerard Pique finds his focus and Lenglet gets the better of his nerves. They are both undeniably top class players and their A game will skyrocket our chances.
Be wary of their strengths
Sevilla’s style of play is fast-paced and entertaining thanks to a roster filled with lots of quality and potential. They have scored 18 goals so far this season, the majority from open play and the rest a mix of set-pieces and counter-attacks. They are a counter-attacking team and will leave no stone unturned if they see the opponent defense napping. They are adept at creating scoring chances and boast a high conversion percentage. Navas and Sarabia have chipped in with four assists each and will look to increase their tally and Silva is in fine form netting seven goals. Another noteworthy mention is Ben Yedder with five goals to his name. Overall, Pablo Machin has given this ensemble a great head start but this team does have glaring weaknesses to be taken full advantage of.
Take advantage of Sevilla’s weaknesses
Pass completion has been a headache for Sevilla as they have recorded a stat of around 81%, less than Barcelona’s 89% which mean they are prone to giving away stray passes. Valverde can choose his squad with interception-minded players like Arturo Vidal (although, that is unlikely and Arthur is expected to start). Sevilla have also shown powerlessness against through balls so it’s a great time for some Alba and Messi combination. Their attackers however good, have failed against offside traps and a solid defensive line from the Blaugranes can do wonders. They do possess a habit of fouling in dangerous areas and our captain can definitely take full advantage.
Maintain team morale if they concede
Barcelona have been prone to a significant loss of confidence when conceding first and this year hasn’t been any different. The morale has taken a hit after a string of average performances and it’s the team’s responsibility to improve it. Stats and records mean nothing if the team performs with diffidence and self-doubt. Blaugranes face Sevilla at Camp Nou, the home of beautiful football. Scoring and conceding is a part of the game; what matters is the confidence to win and if Barcelona play with high morale and the fans support every player donning the Blaugrana crest, things will only get better.