Barcelona will be up against Sevilla in La Liga at the Camp Nou on 3rd April.
It has been a dramatic season for FC Barcelona and their fans. Rocked by a debt to the tune of 1 billion euros and having lost the legendary Lionel Messi over the summer, Barcelona endured a nightmare start to their La Liga campaign. They were ninth in the league a couple of months into the start of the season and were also knocked out of their Champions League group by Bayern Munich and Benfica.
However, club president Joan Laporta has fired Ronald Koeman and has replaced him with former player Xavi and there’s been a dramatic shift in mood both on a sporting as well as a cultural level at the Camp Nou. The months of February and March provided a wonderful glimpse of all the hard work put in by Xavi and his team behind the scenes.
The Catalan giants put four goals past Atletico Madrid, Napoli, Valencia, Athletic Club, Osasuna and finally, their arch-rivals Real Madrid on their own home turf at the Santiago Bernabeu. This has allowed Barcelona to climb from ninth (when Xavi took over) to third in the Spanish league. Barcelona fans were once dreading that they will miss Champions League football next season, but they could potentially take the second position in the league with a victory over Sevilla in front of a packed Camp Nou on Sunday.
It’s a shame that Barcelona have already been knocked out of the Champions League because on the basis of pure form and quality, they certainly look like among the best teams in Europe at the moment, if not the best. They will have one eye on their trip to Eintracht Frankfurt this week but Xavi and his side will also be prioritizing the Liga campaign.
While Real Madrid seem out of sight for now (with a 12-point lead), Barcelona will be aware that any slip-ups and they might be involved in a title race going into the final 10 matches of the season. The winter signings of Ferran Torres, Dani Alves, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Adama Traore have all played their roles extremely well. It will be interesting to see whether Barcelona can sustain the tempo and winning momentum after a gruelling couple of months along with the international break.
Barcelona have only won one of their last four La Liga games against Sevilla, with three draws taking place during that run, although they are unbeaten against them in the league since October 2015 and will enter this contest as the favourites.
Sevilla, who have found so much success in the Europa League, will be disappointed to have been knocked out of the competition by West Ham last month. They were also pushing for the La Liga title at one stage, but those plans have evaporated lately as Sevilla find themselves trailing league leaders Real Madrid by nine points.
Julen Lopetegui’s side have won only one out of their last five matches in the league and just two of their last nine. They have drawn seven matches during that period and have managed three draws on the trot in their last three league matches.
Sevilla already seem set for Champions League football for next season as they have a three-point lead over Atletico Madrid in fourth and lead Real Betis in fifth by seven points. Los Nervionenses have been excellent on the road this season and have only lost two of their 15 league matches away from home this season. With that being said, Barcelona are almost impenetrable at the Camp Nou and have won nine of their 13 matches at home this season.
Sevilla, affected by a drop in form as well as injuries in the crucial part of the season, will have to punch considerably above their weight in order to get a point against the Catalans who have been in flying form.
BAR vs SEV, La Liga 2021/22
Date: 4th April, 2022
Time: 12:30 AM IST
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Sevilla La Liga form:
Sevilla form (all competitions):
Barcelona wins: 98
Sevilla wins: 41
Barcelona Team News: The arrival of Xavi has also heralded a change in medical staff which has brought welcome results for Barcelona. Once prone to muscle injuries at the start of the season, Barcelona have little in the way of fresh injury concerns. In fact, star forward Ansu Fati has returned to training this week although he is still some weeks of returning to the pitch.
Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti are out of contention as they are still dealing with their long-term injury problems. Sergino Dest has joined the list with a hamstring issue but Barcelona will be able to count on most of their players who have featured in the strong run of results in recent weeks. Luuk De Jong will be unavailable to feature against his parent club on Sunday after testing positive for COVID-19.
Sevilla Team News: Sevilla are suffering a host of injury problems at the moment. Fernando, Yassine Bounou, Thomas Delaney, Rafa Mir, Marcos Acuna, Suso, Karim Rekik and Alejandro ‘Papu’ Gomez are all sidelined due to a variety of problems and injuries.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Pique, E Garcia, Alba; Frenkie de Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Aubameyang, Ferran Torres
Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Navas, Kounde, Carlos, Augustinsson; Jordan, Rakitic; Ocampos, Munir, Martial; En-Nesyri
Barcelona are on a roll at the moment and have played some top-tier football. They destroyed Real Madrid 0-4 at the Santiago Bernabeu to make a major statement and cannot be taken lightly. The Catalans will be favourites to pick up all three points here in front of a sold-out Camp Nou according to reports.
Sevilla are well aware of how to manage big games and eking out points, but they will be under the cosh because of Barcelona’s momentum as well as their own injury crisis.