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Barcelona v Sevilla: Unbeaten run put to the test

Having gone 33 games unbeaten, Barcelona come full circle when they host Sevilla in La Liga on Sunday.

Unai Emery’s men were the last team to get the better of the Catalans when they claimed a 2-1 win at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan in October.

Barca have been peerless in all competitions since, scoring 100 goals and conceding just 18 on their record-breaking run.

Sunday’s clash also serves as a dress rehearsal for May’s Copa del Rey final, but Emery will be hoping to tear up a familiar script.

Sevilla have not won at Camp Nou on their last 12 visits in the league and last tasted victory there in 2002, when they won 3-0.

The Andalusians are also without an away La Liga win in as many matches and Barca – eight points clear of Atletico Madrid at the summit – should come into the fixture full of confidence following an important Champions League last-16 win at Arsenal on Tuesday.

Lionel Messi netted twice to put the defending champions in full control ahead of the return leg on March 16.

Sevilla are, themselves, still alive in Europe and were drawn against final hosts Basel in the last 16 of the Europa League – a tournament they have won for the past two seasons – on Friday.

But midfielder Vicente Iborra insists Sevilla – looking to bounce back from a 1-0 second-leg defeat to Molde on Thursday – are fully focused on the task at hand as they look to boost their chances of a top-four finish with a shock result.

“Playing against Barcelona is always motivating,” he told Goal.com. “We’re going to work to make a good game. I’m sure we’re able to win at any ground, why not at Camp Nou?

“We all know how good they are, not only in attacking but also in defence. We have to work to play a very complete match and take advantage of our chances while being strong at the back.

“We’re alive in all three competitions. We have to keep climbing in La Liga and remain strong in the Europa League. Then we have to go step by step.”

Barcelona are not thought to have any fresh injury concerns following their Champions League exertions and will be looking to keep Atleti and Real Madrid at bay with victory.


Key Opta stats:

– The only active player remaining from Sevilla’s last league win at Barcelona in 2002 is Sevilla’s Jose Antonio Reyes.
– Luis Suarez is the top scorer in La Liga (25), as well as the player with the most assists (10).
– The Uruguayan striker has scored in each of his last five league games (7 goals). 
– Since his arrival, Sevilla have won 56.9 per cent of their games with Ever Banega on the field, and just 41.7 per cent without him.
– Barcelona have missed the most penalties in the Top 5 European Leagues this season (6 out of 12).

Fri 26 Feb, 2016
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