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Prediction: Sevilla vs Barcelona

Verdict: Sevilla +1 Asian handicap

Best Odds: 9/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Sevilla have got a perfect opportunity to make amends for the 1-1 draw against Sporting Gijon, and a clash against mighty Barcelona will be a good test of their title ambitions. The Catalans, on the other hand, need to try and make amends for the Manchester City defeat and remain close to league leaders Real Madrid.

Sevilla

Sevilla had soared to unimagined heights under Unai Emery, but his successor Jorge Sampaoli appears more than capable of keeping los Rojiblancos on the right track. The Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan outfit have all but secured their place in the Champions League knockout stages with two games to spare, proving they are now rightly regarded one of Europe’s top sides, while their La Liga campaign has been a resounding success as well. While Sevilla couldn’t do better than fourth-place finish in recent years, los Rojiblancos now appear ready to mount a serious title challenge as they sit just three points behind leaders Real Madrid. The team’s impressive run of results in the early exchanges was a bit unexpected as there had been major changes to the playing squad in the summer, while Jorge Sampaoli also experienced plenty of selection problems along the way. The Chilean is now sweating over the fitness of star playmaker Samir Nasri, who has managed to kick-start his career in Spanish La Liga, but he’s got quite a few options to replace the Frenchman is he fails to recover in time.

Team News

Samir Nasri has resumed light training after injuring his left hamstring, and he remains a major doubt for the Barcelona clash.

Meanwhile, Carlos Fernandez, Benoit Tremoulinas and Michael Krohn-Dehli are definitely out of contention due to long-term injuries.

Barcelona

As Spanish La Liga title chase becomes more interesting, Barcelona are finding it harder to get away at the top and they are currently two points behind leaders Real Madrid, with Atletico Madrid and Sevilla breathing down their necks. The Catalans have been thoroughly impressive in most fixtures this season, but haven’t been too consistent, suffering several unexpected setbacks, with defeats to Deportivo Alaves and Celta Vigo especially disappointing. Barcelona appear to have suffered a slight dip in form of late, as witnessed by hard-fought victories over Valencia and Granada, and while the 3-1 defeat to Man City is unlikely to prove too costly, it will serve as a blow to the players’ confidence. This means that the Catalans will have to work hard if they want to win at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, and they also need to compensate for some important missings. While they won the Super Cup clash at said venue at the start of the current season, Barcelona couldn’t win on their last two trips to Andalucia in La Liga, and we wouldn’t be surprised if the trend continues. Given team’s major defensive problems and the absence of Andres Iniesta, we don’t think Luis Enrique’s side have got what it takes to win the high-profile clash.

Team News

The latest reports claim that Jordi Alba and Gerard Pique have failed to recover from injury, meaning Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti will continue in defence.

Andres Iniesta and Jeremy Mathieu are sidelined as well, but Arda Turan has returned into action and he could start against Sevilla.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Sevilla are unbeaten in last two home games vs Barca in La Liga (W1 D1)
  • Both teams scored in 9 of their last 12 meetings
  • Sevilla won last seven fixtures at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
  • Barcelona have two defeats in last three away games
  • Nine different players have scored for Sevilla in this year’s La Liga

Conclusion

Sevilla have been thoroughly impressive this season and having won last seven matches at home, we feel they will be a good match to out-of-form Barcelona. The Catalans appear to be struggling at the moment, and with Iniesta, Pique and Alba missing, we don’t think they can win at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Verdict: Sevilla +1 Asian handicap

Best Odds: 9/10

Bookmaker: bet365

Fri 4 Nov, 2016
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