Barcelona taking on Sevilla at the Camp Nou is a game that, on paper, seemed like it could be massively decisive in the race for the La Liga title as a potential slip up for Luis Enrique’s men. It is understandable that this match-up against Jorge Sampaoli’s side threw up some question marks when looking at the final stages of the league campaign, but on current form and looking at the history of the fixture, Barça winning seemed very likely. And the blaugrana showed it.
The game started interestingly, with most spectators trying to work out who was playing where in Enrique’s 3-3-1-3 formation, and Barcelona were well on top. Sevilla struggled to get out of their half and didn’t really have an outlet when they did get possession, playing without a real number nine.
All of the eleven seemed to be on top of their game, and Barça almost took an early lead after Lionel Messi’s shot crashed against the crossbar and down in front of the goal-line after some good play between Barça’s attacking talents.
Sevilla did eventually begin to threaten the back three of FCB, with Steven N’Zonzi taking advantage of a limp challenge from Javier Mascherano but the Frenchman failed to take advantage at the near post with Marc-André Ter Stegen blocking the effort.
As the rain began to pour down in Catalunya, the goals soon followed. In eight minutes Barcelona ended any chance of dropping points in their battle to win La Liga.
Luis Suárez scored his 24th goal of the season with a spectacular overhead kick finish after a great run from Messi ended in a deflected ball popping up to the Uruguayan.
Just minutes later a quick counter attack after Sevilla ran out of ideas in the Barça final third ended in a cross from Neymar, that seemed too wayward but still finding Suárez who cut back to Messi who smashed home through multiple bodies with his right foot to make it 2-0
Messi finished off the scoring with 33 minutes played after some more poor defending from Sevilla ended in the ball falling to the left boot of the Argentine, who smashed home a volley to end any chance of a Sevilla fight-back.
After the three quick-fire goals the game seemed to become a bit of an exhibition for both sides, Sampaoli’s men and Enrique’s men both seeming to accept the result and come away from the match with their players fit and ready for the next step in the season.
The second half saw Enrique use all his substitutes, handing minutes to Paco Alcácer, Lucas Digne and a home debut for Barcelona B prodigy Carles Aleñá. Enrique subbed off Ivan Rakitić and Gerard Piqué who both picked up suspensions for accumulation of yellow cards, which both seemed very deliberate with the Clásico looming, and Suárez also got an early break.
Wednesday’s game saw a lot of magic from the Barça players, with Iniesta, Messi, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto all putting in top performances. Sevilla continued their awful form with their last win coming over a month ago, on the 2nd of March, but don’t take anything away from this Barcelona display, Luis Enrique showed that he can adapt to different situations where I and many others have doubted his ability to do so in the past, after adding the 3-3-1-3 to his tactical arsenal.
Next up for Barça comes an away match against Málaga, followed by a massive game against Juventus in Turin as the blaugrana look to complete a very unlikely treble.