The 2016-17 LaLiga season has already seen many twists and turns this season. The clash between the Spanish heavyweights – Sevilla and Barcelona could become yet another enticing episode in what is turning out to be an intriguing run in for the bragging rights of Spanish top flight. The Catalans cannot afford to slip up at this juncture while the stuttering Andalusians will have their task cut out to end their indifferent form.
Catalans Aim for Big title Push
There were instances this season where the Catalans were perceived to be dead and buried in LaLiga as well as Europe, but they are still alive in three competitions. As much as it shows the resilience, it also paints a morbid picture of inconsistency, which we do not often associate with the reigning champions of Spain. They still have a chance to retain the title but they cannot afford any more slip-ups.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 5, 2017
They will simply have to win and keep the pressure on league leaders, Madrid who take on Leganes later the same night. They got past Granada in the weekend winning 4-1. The scoreline flattered to deceive as they were made to work very hard for the three points. Barcelona will bank on their home comfort to get past Sevilla, who are falling apart since early March. Neymar has been in sublime form and Suarez looks to have found form in the right stretch of the campaign. Enrique reverted back to 4-3-3 in the weekend against Granada and it will be interesting to see if he will stick to the same or go for the more adventurous option of 3-4-3.
Barcelona Team News
Rafinha came off with an injury during the weekend win and is expected to miss up to four weeks of action. Pique will be back in the squad after being given a day off against Granada. Messi will also make his return to the squad after serving his suspension. Samuel Umtiti is also expected to return to the starting XI for this important clash.
Stuttering Sevilla look for upturn in form
Just over a month ago the Sevilla were flying high. They sat third in the table, 9 points ahead of Atletico Madrid and looked to genuinely threaten the La Liga status quo. But things have drastically fallen apart for the former Europa League winners as they sit fourth in the table and their title challenge looks at a premature end. One of the club’s most valued asset, director of football – Monchi will be leaving the club and Sampaoli’s future is also uncertain. They are winless in their last five games and their visit to Camp Nou could not have come at a worse time.
— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) April 3, 2017
Sevilla's exit at the hands of Leicester and indifferent league form has seen the Sampaoli slip up from being a front-runner for the post. They drew against Sporting Gijon over the weekend and it marked three draws, one loss in the last four league games. Their attack looked bleak in the match against Sporting and they will have to sharpen up their finishing if they are to take away anything from Camp Nou.
Sevilla Team News
Sevilla will continue to miss Mercardo, who picked up a knee injury during international duty. They will also be without their key centre-back Adil Rami. Krohn-Dehli is back in training following his meniscus injury while Tremoulinas continues to be sidelined. Sampaoli will look to make some changes to the XI that disappointed against Sporting Gijon.
Barcelona (3-4-3): Ter Stegen, Mascherano, Pique, Umtiti, Roberto, Busquets, Iniesta, Rakitic, Messi, Neymar, Suarez
Sevilla (4-2-3-1): Rico, Pareja, Mariano, Lenglet, Sarabia, Kranevitter, N’Zonzi, Vitola, Vietto, Nasri, Jovetic
Player to watch out for
The Brazilian captain has been in scintillating form this season. He scored his 100th goal for the club in the last match and looks set for many more in the Blaugrana colours. He has been tormenting defenders in the league and has been touted by many as the heir to Messi’s throne at Catalonia. The superstar has arguably performed as good as the Argentinean this season and will once again be instrumental for his side’s title hopes.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 4, 2017
Catch the pulsating live action between Barcelona and Sevilla on the Sony Network at 11:00 pm IST, Wednesday, April 5th.