Tactical Review: Not this time


On Saturday, the Sánchez Pizjuán witnessed a match between two teams desperate to put early season challenges behind them in a convincing fashion. This was a test of survival, even if this manifested itself somewhat differently for both teams. Barça, similar to the Catalan independence movement, finds itself in a waiting period. As was mentioned in my review against Bayer Leverkusen, nerves were a result of the creeping uncertainty over what the future will bring and whether or not astute leadership will ensure short-term survival ahead of a decisive period still to come.

Yet Sevilla doesn’t have the luxury of time. Solutions must be found immediately by Sevilla manager Unai Emery to motivate an underperforming squad. While the blaugranes are well aware of the boost, both moral and footballing, they will receive in January, the red and white side of the city of Sevilla knows that correcting course is a matter of instant concern.


Café con leche: Picking up the pieces


Eagerly anticipated returns

While Luis Enrique has yet to lose confidence in either Javier Mascherano or Jeremy Mathieu, he’ll be certain to rejoice at the prospect of counting on the services of Thomas Vermaelen and Adriano again. The former looked confident and commanding in his few performances for the blaugrana, which is exactly what the team needs at the moment. The Brazilian on the other hand is more of an alternative at left-back to Mathieu who has been abysmal this season.


Review: Neither panic nor excuses needed after Sevilla loss

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Losing to Sevilla at the Sánchez Pizjuán is not a cause for panic; certainly not when Barça will at worst be two points behind Real Madrid by the end of the weekend. If the Madrid derby goes Atlético Madrid’s way, Barça could even be ahead of their arch rivals (though behind league leaders Villarreal, remarkable as that is to say).

Nor is this, however, a bogey game where Barça did everything possible and the ball simply would not go in. That bad luck argument is tempting given how many shots Barça took, but how many were good opportunity shots? Sergio Rico made many saves, it’s true, but most were less death-defying miracles and more a vigilant keeper doing his job. Simply put, Barça needed to do a lot more than improve their finishing.


Café con leche: Goalpost drama

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Lucho surprised at Sevilla result

As you may or have not noticed, the culé world is cursing the goalposts at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán. Things aren’t very different for Luis Enrique. The pick of his quotes from his post-match press conference was rather simple. “It was a game in which we had a lot of chances. It’s almost unbelievable that we walk out of here with just one goal,” said Lucho, who then went on with setting up a contrast of his team’s play with Sevilla’s. “They took advantage of the chances they had,” said Lucho, seemingly disappointed at his forwards. When asked about Barça’s less-than-impressive goalscoring exploits, Lucho did have some words of optimism. “We don’t have the best numbers but I’m sure that’ll change in the coming games,” said the Asturian.

You better do something to change them, Lucho.


Preview: A win is all that matters


Back from a tough trip to Turin, Unai Emery’s Sevilla continue their search for last season’s form in what has been an extremely frustrating campaign so far. The Europa League winners have finally joined Europe’s elite and are competing in the Champions League, but fate has it that Sevilla’s return to the UCL would feature them form this year’s group of death alongside last year’s finalists Juventus FC and England’s Manchester City. It’s not looking any prettier in La Liga as well as Sevilla – currently 16th – have only won five out of 18 possible points with a single win recorded in six games. And while both FC Barcelona and Sevilla are struggling in terms of performance, Barça are still managing to get the results.