Sergio Ramos to the rescue for Barca
Barcelona went on the attack before the match with a statement severing ties with Sevilla, and Xavi did the same with his XI – starting Robert Lewandowski, Joao Felix, Raphinha and Lamine Yamal.
Barcelona went on to create plenty of opportunities to win the game but just could not get the ball into the back of the net. Joao Felix smashed a great chance against the bar, Gavi twice went close, while Robert Lewandowski had one off the line.
It looked like being one of those nights until the goal eventually came - but not from a Barcelona man – from Sergio Ramos of all players.
2 - It's the second time in the 21st century that @FCBarcelona have won a @LaLigaEN match by 1-0 being the winning goal an own goal from the opponent, following a game against Mallorca in April 2007 with Fernando Navarro's own goal.— OptaJose (@OptaJose) September 29, 2023
Ferran Torres, who seems far more effective as a sub than a starter, crossed for Lamine Yamal who headed it back across goal to Fermin Lopez. Yet instead of reaching the Barca youngster it hit Ramos and rolled across the line for the only goal of the game.
Barcelona fans obviously loved it, signing the former Real Madrid skipper’s name and delighting in the fact he had handed a very sweet win to Xavi’s side that sends them, temporarily at least, top of the table again.
Fermin Lopez stakes his claim
It’s been a good week for Fermin Lopez. He scored the equaliser against Mallorca, went back to university in midweek to continue his studies and then starred for Barca again on Friday.
Xavi sent on Lopez in the first half after losing Raphinha to a hamstring injury and the Barcelona midfielder grabbed the chance to impress with both hands in a super showing.
The 20-year-old showed off some silky touches, created chances, displayed huge heart and desire (almost Gavi-esque at times) and looked every inch a Barcelona player in an effervescent display.
Xavi was full of praise for Lopez after the match, tipping the youngster to become a “top player” and telling him he has a big future at the club as long as he continues to believe in himself.
Lopez certainly seemed full of belief, no doubt fuelled from his Mallorca goal, and we’re likely to see far more of him in the coming weeks too with Raphinha now joining Frenkie de Jong and Pedri on the injured list.
The loss of the trio is a blow to Barcelona but the emergence of Fermin is already a real plus, and it will be interesting to see how much of an impact he can make on the team this season.
Kounde and Gavi are Barca’s backbone
Barcelona also had Jules Kounde and Gavi to thank for the victory. The duo have been arguably Barca’s best two players of the early weeks of the season and a big reason why they are still unbeaten.
Xavi’s side were undone by defensive mistakes against Real Mallorca, leaving Xavi pretty angry afterwards, but there was no repeat against Sevilla as the hosts kept a clean sheet.
Kounde started at center-back alongside Andreas Christensen and was crucial to the win, making vital interceptions and blocks. In nine games this season he is still yet to be dribbled past by any player.
The Frenchman’s response to returning to central defense this season has been incredibly impressive. It’s also worth noting he’s yet to pick up a single booking so far, impressive stuff for a central half.
Gavi talks about the 1-0 win over Sevilla: pic.twitter.com/lUGBMIdQOa— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) September 30, 2023
It’s a different story entirely for Gavi, who has four already, but the tenacious teenager impressed yet again. He continues to be Barca’s heart and soul but is rapidly becoming far much more than than too.
Gavi added to his ever-expanding repertoire against Sevilla with some vital blocks and killer passes. He also ran the most out of any player (11.6km) in another simply relentless display.