Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 25
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Arthur, Thomas Vermaelen, Jasper Cillessen, Rafinha, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Jean-Clair Todibo, Sergi Samper (out)
Sevilla Outs & Doubts: Nolito, Sergio Escudero (out), Daniel Carriço, Jesús Navas, Maxime Gonalons, Joris Gnagnon (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, February 23, 2019, 4.15pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 3.15pm GMT (UK), 10.15am ET, 7.15am PT (USA), 8.45pm IST (India)
Venue: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (OH BOY)
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA, Canada, Spain), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA, Canada, Spain), others
If you’re a Barcelona fan, it’s impossible not to think about the two consecutive trips to the Santiago Bernabéu to play El Clásico against Real Madrid in both the Copa del Rey and La Liga coming up next week. We might be on our way to a fifth straight cup final and then eliminate our biggest rivals from title contention in the league, but we might also be out of the Cup and then lose at the weekend and see the title race blown wide open.
Anything could happen in Madrid next week, but it’d be a HUGE mistake to forget this weekend. Barça face an incredibly difficult trip to Seville to face Sevilla, and although the Rojiblancos have lost four of their last six in the league and got destroyed 6-1 at Camp Nou last month, they also beat Barça 2-0 at the same Pizjuán stadium where they’ll play on Saturday.
Ernesto Valverde has to and probably will rotate his squad with the Real Madrid games in mind, and resting Lionel Messi is a must. But the changes cannot be an excuse; Barça have to win to stay seven points clear at the top before the Clásicos come. This is the start of a giant week for the champions, and they must play like it.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Murillo, Umtiti, Alba; Aleñá, Rakitic, Vidal; Malcom, Suárez, Coutinho
Sevilla (3-5-2): Vaclik; Mercado, Kjaer, Gómez; Navas, Sarabia, Banega, Vázquez, Arana; André Silva, Ben Yedder
I still believe Luis Suárez will have a game this seaosn where he tells everyone to shut up and shows he’s still a monster, so I will predict this will be that game: 3-1 Barça, Suárez hat-trick.