Barcelona extended their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 15 games, remain perfect in 2023 and are now eight points clear at the top of the La Liga table thanks to a brilliant 3-0 win over Sevilla at the Spotify Camp Nou on Sunday night. The Blaugrana were the better team for the entire night and fully deserved the victory with excellent attacking football and another commanding defensive display in what was a very complete performance at home.
Barça didn’t start the game with good news as Sergio Busquets suffered an ankle injury just five minutes into the action, but the Blaugrana eventually settled into a good rhythm and started to dominate possession and occupy the Sevilla half.
The Catalans usually struggle to attack a five-man defense but had success against the Rojiblancos thanks in large pass to quick and incisive passing and excellent movement between the lines to create spaces and find opportunities for crosses and shots.
Barça had three big chances with a Ronald Araujo header and two Robert Lewandowski shots, but a combination of poor finishing and one fantastic save by Sevilla goalkeeper Bono kept the Blaugrana from scoring.
As we approached the end of the half the visitors finally showed signs of life and started to go forward a little more, but never came close to threatening the Barça defense. The home team lost some of the intensity in the final minutes and were in clear need of the halftime whistle to regroup during the break.
At halftime Barça were the better team and should have had the lead, but they left all the work to be done in the second half.
Jorge Sampaoli made two halftime changes to leave his team without a forward and put 10 men behind the ball to try and hold on to the point and invited all the pressure from Barça who had to play against a parked bus to try and find the breakthrough.
Barça showed great patience to attack that tight defense but were intense and quick with their passing and started to really threaten with runs in behind, dangerous crosses and midfielders making runs from deep into the box.
The Blaugrana needed just 13 minutes to break down the Sevilla backline and find the opener with a very well worked goal: after a long sequence of possession and a smart cross from Andreas Christensen into the box, Raphinha found Franck Kessie with his back to goal and the Ivorian made a great pass to Jordi Alba who found the bottom corner and put the home team ahead.
Sevilla answered with a switch in formation, a higher defensive line and started pressing high up the pitch to try and force Barça into mistakes, but before those changes could make any impact the Blaugrana scored a second goal: Jules Kounde played a great ball over the top to find the run of Raphinha, who carved open the Sevilla backline with a fantastic pass to find Gavi at the far post for the easiest of tap-ins.
Barça didn’t take the foot off the gas pedal and looked for more goals to seal the win, and they found a third with 10 minutes to go thanks to a sensational Frenkie De Jong pass, an assist for Jordi Alba and a goal by Raphinha to triple the lead and secure the three points.
The home team simply ran out the clock and focused on keeping the clean sheet in the dying seconds, and the final whistle came to give Barça three more points and extend their lead at the top to eight points after just 20 league games. This team was very close to its best tonight even without Busquets and Ousmane Dembélé, and they could become scary soon if they continue to play like this against better teams and get fully healthy again.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo (Alonso 80’), Christensen, Alba (Balde 83’); Pedri, Busquets (Kessie 8’), De Jong; Raphinha (Ferran 84’), Lewandowski, Gavi (Fati 80’)
Goals: Alba (58’), Gavi (71’), Raphinha (79’)
Sevilla: Bono; Badé, Gudelj, Rekik; Montiel, Jordán, Gueye (Fernando 83’), Acuña (Ocampos 65’); Torres (Gil 46’), En-Nesyri (Lamela 46’), Rakitic