Barcelona may have had a goalless draw against Olympiacos on Tuesday night, but they are still the favorites to win against Sevilla today. Sevilla may be in fifth place in the table, but their away record has not been great this season. They have won only two of their away matches so far. Meanwhile, Barcelona are unbeaten in all competitions for 15 games and they are hoping to extend their run.
A lot of focus (as usual) has been on Messi’s impact for this match. When Messi starts for Barcelona today he will have played a record-breaking 600 matches for the club. It is also poignant that the Argentine will be playing against Sevilla. Messi has scored more goals against the Andalusian club (29 goals in 30 matches) than he has against any other club. In fact, the 2014 Barcelona – Sevilla matchup was the day that Messi broke the all-time leading goal scoring record with a hatrick.
Injuries for Barcelona have been piling up in recent months. They are still without Rafinha, Dembélé, Turan and Vidal. The Olympiacos match resulted in a few knocks for the Catalan club. Sergi Roberto is now out with a hamstring injury that will see him sidelined for five weeks. André Gomes picked up a thigh injury that has a three to four-week recovery timetable.
Sevilla are faring a bit better with regards to injuries. But, are unable to call on Carriço, Pareja, or Correa. Gabriel Mercado also picked up an injury in the club’s Champions League match against Spartak on Wednesday. The Argentine will also miss the upcoming international friendlies. He is unlikely to play again until the club faces Celta mid-November.
Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde is anticipating a difficult battle. “This is a dangerous game. Sevilla won’t sit back and it will be a tough game to dominate,” he commented. “When it comes to analyzing our opponents, you don’t just look at the team but how they have done when they have come to Camp Nou. Berizzo has picked up some good results here for Celta against Barça. He’s a coach who is not afraid of playing to win.”
Sevilla coach Eduardo Berizzo is aligned with Valverde that it will be a tough matchup. He feels the Andalusian club needs to be good in a lot of different areas, but that they have the weapons to win. “I want a high-pressing Sevilla, which dominates because I don’t like feeling dominated. We have to put all our effort into making Barcelona feel uncomfortable because if they dominate we’ll struggle. In that sense, it will be a long game for us and we’ll need a good defensive display. I prefer to press in the opposition half and that’s what I want to do tomorrow”.
The match kicks off today at 20.45h local time (19.45h BST). It remains to be seen if Sevilla can put a stop to Barcelona’s unbeaten run.