19th June, 2020
If there are teams that can upstage Barcelona in the current LaLiga season, Sevilla is surely one of them.
Especially when the match is taking place at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium in Sevilla. That is despite the fact that the game is going to be played in an empty stadium.
In this post, we wish to take a cursory look at both teams, their present performance level and the possible outcome of today’s match. We start our analysis with the home team – Sevilla.
The home side has really had a good season so far. Both before and after the COVID-19 forced break.
As things stand on the LaLiga table right now, they are surely on their way back to the Champions League if all goes well for them as it has been so far.
The team currently occupies the third position on the LaLiga table at the moment with 51 points garnered, behind the two perpetual title contenders, Barcelona and Real Madrid.
Sevilla will however need to be very careful so as not to lose too many points at this stage. With just five matches remaining to play, they need to play every match like a cup final.
Especially with Atletico Madrid breathing down their necks at 49 points, and of course the Real Sociedad and Getafe also not too far behind (both are on 47 points at this stage).
Today’s hosts returned from the forced break with a very important win over city rivals Real Betis in the Seville Derby and later drew 1-1 away to 12th place Levante.
Sevilla’s current recent form has surely been quite impressive, with three wins and three draws from their last six league encounters.
As things stand right now however, especially in today’s match, they face a huge challenge to maintain that unbeaten run.
Sevilla’s coach, Julen Lopetegui will not be missing any important players today and so, has a complete squad of fit players to select from when his team takes on the almighty Barcelona.
Players like midfielder Fernando could be back in the squad after having spent the match against Levante completely on the bench. There is also Munir El Haddadi who would be too happy and inspired to play against his former club.
Of course, Lucas Ocampos is certainly a sure bet to be in the attacking setup right from the start of game as he has been able to score 13 goals in all competitions this season.
Now to the dangerous visitors – Barcelona.
Barcelona is surely one of the teams that benefited immensely from the COVID-19 enforced break. Even if we just take only the return of the deadly striker, Louis Suarez from injury into consideration.
This is one player that Barcelona sorely missed in his absence from their line-up and his return has surely brought with it a big difference in the team’s attacking setup.
With the ever reliable captain Lionel Messi directing affairs on the pitch, the Catalans will be certain to approach this game as any other one – business as usual, despite what pride or form of Sevilla may be presently enjoying.
As matters stand right now, Barcelona currently lead the way in the La Liga table, having garnered 64 points from the previous 29 rounds of matches played. They have two more points than arch-rivals Real Madrid who occupy the second place.
That of course means that Quique Setien’s team cannot even think about relaxing in any way whatsoever. If the two games they’ve played after the lock down are anything to go by, then one can be sure that they mean real business. They never allowed Mallorca and Leganes to pull off any surprises.
From their last six matches in the Spanish top league, Barcelona have secured four wins, a draw and a defeat.
However, the most important thing for them right now is that they’ve been looking and performing like a proper top-class team of late and are always keeping their eyes on the big prize at the end of the season as well as not letting anything distract them from their ultimate target.
As far as today’s match is concerned, striker Martin Braithwaite might just have a look in from the coach once again after being left out of the game against Leganes. He had scored in the earlier game against Mallorca and he is one of the favourites to score against Sevilla in today’s game.
That automatically means that either of Louis Suarez or Antonie Griezmann will have to make way for him today. Most likely Griezmann unless the coach decides to allow Louis Suarez to get some rest as he steps up his recovery from long injury absence.
Then there is also left-back Jordi Alba who has served a one-match suspension last time around and should now return to his place in the team ahead of Junior Firpo.
As far as Ousmane Dembele is concerned, he is the only player fully ruled out of this game as a result of his hamstring injury and the likelihood of him returning to action before the end of this season is seriously in doubt.
After all of the analytics above, it is quite clear that the visiting Barcelona team has an edge over Sevilla in today’s game even though anything can happen in the game of soccer.
Lionel Messi has hardly been stopped in a career stretching for over 15 years, and with someone like the deadly Louis Suarez partnering him in the attack, at any stage of today’s game, he is very unlikely to be stopped in Seville.
And that of course, can only mean one thing.
Barcelona are hot favourites to win this match and many fans including yours truly will be very surprised if they fail to do so at the end.