With this being the last La Liga game before the match against Real Madrid next weekend, the goal for FC Barcelona is to enter that game with the precious 8 point advantage still in hand. It will be no easy feat however against 5th place Sevilla, still undefeated this season with 3 wins and 2 draws.
One of Sevilla’s victories was of course against Real Madrid two match days ago, on the evening that Mourinho declared that “he did not have a team”. The Sanchez Pizjuan has been a fortress for the Andalucía side this year, winning 2 from 2. Tito Vilanova acknowledged in the pre-match media briefs that this stadium is always complicated to visit, and over the years we all remember the frustrating matches in which veteran keeper Palop was unbeatable and Barça succumbed to draws or defeats.
Míchel cannot call on talented youngster Diego Perotti nor local boy José Antonio Reyes due to injury. The only new entry into the squad tonight is midfielder Javi Hervas. Keep an eye on new right back Cicinho as the Sevilla scouting system seemed to have unearthened the new Dani Alves.
Predicted Starting XI: Palop – Cicinho – Botía – Spahic – Fernando Navarro; Medel – Maduro; Rakitic – Jesús Navas – Negredo – Trochowski
Full squad: Palop, Diego López; Cicinho, Fazio, Spahic, Fernando Navarro, Botía, Cala Luna; Maduro, Trochowski, Rakitic, Kondogbia, Hervás, Campaña, Medel, Jesús Navas, Babá, Negredo.
A pretty decent list of injuries today with Adriano the latest to join Piqué, Puyol, Cuenca, Muniesa, and Iniesta. Tito will have an eye on the midweek game as well.
Predicted Starting XI: Valdés; Alves – Song – Mascherano – Alba; Fàbregas – Busquets – Xavi; Tello – Messi – Alexis
Full squad: Valdés, Pinto, Alves, Cesc, Xavi, Villa, Alexis, Messi, Thiago, Mascherano, Bartra, Sergio Busquets, Pedro, Jordi Alba, Montoya, Song, Tello and Sergi Roberto.
Expect a high-octane match with plenty of hustle and pressing from Sevilla. That was the formula they used against Madrid and it should be no different tonight. If they can create that level of intensity and commitment again, FC Barcelona is going to have a very tough time. It will be a proper test of this team’s current form and ability as they will try to slow down the game by keeping possession and working to tire out Sevilla. It should be thoroughly entertaining as a contest.
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