Barcelona are on a great run of form at the moment and the Catalan giants will have their sights set on making it 10 consecutive wins across all competitions when they host Sevilla in the La Liga encounter at the Camp Nou in Barcelona on Sunday.
The Blaugrana are arriving into this on the back of a four-game winning run and they have collected 50 points from the first half of the season. Maintaining the same form and consistency could see the league leaders becoming centurions by the end of the season and Barcelona defeated Real Betis 2-1 at the Estadio Benito Villamarin in their last game.
Meanwhile, Sevilla are struggling in La Liga this season. Only two points separate them and the relegation zone as they are 14th in the table. However, they have three of their last four games and are showing signs of resurgence which will be a positive mark. It goes without saying that they are up against an extremely formidable rival and will be challenged here.
Their failure to progress beyond the group stages of the UEFA Champions League and getting demoted to the Europa League may have been a major disappointment in the initial stages of the season, but Barcelona have been pretty excellent otherwise. They defeated Real Madrid in Saudi Arabia to become the Spanish Super Cup champions, are the league leaders in La Liga, and are going from strength to strength in the Copa Del Rey as well where they will face Los Blancos in the semi-final.
Xavi’s side will also be fancying their chances in the Europa League Round of 32 fixture with Manchester United in a two-legged tie later this month. More importantly though, they have a valuable five-point lead over Real Madrid in La Liga and are edging closer to ending their league drought.
It has been a fantastic campaign for the Catalan giants who have won 16 of their 19 games and have lost only once – to Real Madrid in the Clasico earlier this season at the Santiago Bernabeu. Barcelona have collected 50 points at the halfway stage of the season and are on course to potentially becoming the first centurions in the league in nearly a decade if they carry on in the same fashion.
Barcelona are also on a four-game winning run since the draw with Espanyol in the Barcelona derby in the final game of 2022. They have won all of their last four matches by a single-goal margin which just goes to show their defensive superiority this season.
In fact, Barcelona have conceded only seven goals in the league in 19 matches – by far, the best record in Europe. The likes of Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Alejandro Balde have been excellent while goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen has also returned back to his best form and has been decisive in front of goal.
Barcelona are arriving into this clash on the back of a 2-1 success over Real Betis at the Estadio Benito Villamarin. Raphinha and Robert Lewandowski got on the scoresheet and while Barcelona seemed to be cruising to a comfortable clean sheet once again, Kounde inadvertently put the ball into his own net leading to hopes of a Betis comeback from the home fans. However, the league leaders held their ground and picked up all three points from their travels once again.
Barcelona will face Sevilla and Villarreal in their next two league matches before welcoming Man United for the first leg of their Europa League knockout round playoff on February 16.
The Catalan giants also have the best home record in La Liga this season and have picked up 23 points from nine games with just two draws hampering a perfect 100% record. Moreover, they will be hosting a Sevilla outfit who have collected just nine points from nine games on their travels.
Barcelona have also recorded 16 wins and 3 draws in their last 19 La Liga matches against Sevilla at the Camp Nou. Sevilla’s last victory over Barcelona at the Camp Nou was way back in December 2002.
It wasn’t long ago that Sevilla were in the relegation zone themselves. However, having picked up there victories from their last four league matches, they have seen a small burst of resurgence which has allowed them to climb out of the dreaded relegation zone and into 14th place in the table. They are currently on 21 points after 19 matches.
Jorge Sampaoli’s side have overcome Getafe, Cadiz and Elche in three of their last four games, beating the latter 3-0 last time out to rise up the table, but it is still so tight towards the bottom.
With that being said though, Los Nervionenses are still only three points away from the dreaded dotted line at the bottom of the table and there is a logjam of three teams on 21 points and two sides on 20 points each. As such, the margins for error are very little and Sevilla will be well aware that they cannot make mistakes and must continue with the momentum that they have built up.
Los Nervionenses have finished fourth in each of their last three campaigns, but they are 13 points behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid at this stage, so it is very difficult to imagine them picking up enough points over the next few months to put themselves in contention for a Champions League spot.
The last time these two sides came face to face was earlier this season where Barcelona recorded a comfortable 3-0 victory at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Former Sevilla defender Jules Kounde had a great outing for his new side and registered two assists in that game. Barcelona also have not lost to Sevilla in Spain’s top flight since October 2015, which is an indication of the size of the away side’s task here.
FCB vs SEV, La Liga 2022/23
Date: 6th February, 2023
Time: 1:30 AM IST
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona
Barcelona La Liga 2022/23 form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Sevilla La Liga 2022/23 form:
Sevilla form (all competitions):
Barcelona wins: 40
Sevilla wins: 10
Barcelona Team News:
While Barcelona were able to bring back Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres back into the fold following their returns from suspension, the Catalan giants are dealing with just one major injury. However, it is the important figure of Ousmane Dembele who is out on the sidelines and it goes without saying that in his absence, Barcelona’s frontline lacks creativity and a cutting edge.
Reports from Barcelona also suggest that Alejandro Balde had a fever yesterday and he will be evaluated by doctors before the game. Jordi Alba could probably start in his absence.
The players will also get a week’s rest after this game and hence, Xavi may return to the same starting XI that took the field against Real Betis with the absence of Balde.
Raphinha will start alongside Lewandowksi in attack as Gavi continues to play further forward in a four-man box midfield for Barcelona.
Sevilla Team News:
Coming to Sevilla, Argentine midfielder Erik Lamela is also back from suspension and should slot in the starting XI for them and feature against Barcelona.
However, Los Nervionenses are missing a number of key players and Marko Dmitrovic, Papu Gomez, Alex Telles, Marcao, Jesus Manuel Corona, Fernando and Jesus Navas are on the sidelines due to fitness problems
Youssef En Nesyri, who grabbed a brace against Elche in the last game, will continue to lead the frontline. In the meantime, Joan Jordan and Thomas Delaney could reclaim their spots in the starting XI at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Marc Andre Ter Stegen; Jules Kounde, Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Jordi Alba; Pedri, Sergio Busquets, Frenkie De Jong; Gavi, Raphinha, Robert Lewandowski,
Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Yassine Bounou; Gonzalo Montiel, Nemanja Gudelj, Tanguy Nianzou, Marcos Acuna; Thomas Delaney, Ivan Rakitic; Joan Jordan, Oliver Torres, Erik Lamela; Youssef En-Nesyri
Sevilla are continuing to make progress and have shown signs of being on their best form in the last few months. However, all of that may not be enough in front of a high-flying Barcelona who have played all of Spain’s best teams out of the park with their midfield dominance and secure backline.
While the Catalans’ winning run might have to come to an end at some stage, Xavi’s side is expected to have enough in the tank to get the job smoothly here and pick up all three points once again.