Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Prediction: Sevilla vs Barcelona

Milos Markovic in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 29 Mar 2018

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Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/12

Bookmaker: 888sport

Runaway La Liga leaders Barcelona travel to Sevilla this weekend looking to extend their formidable unbeaten league record. The Catalans are well on course to clinch another Spanish title but cannot afford to drop their guard despite the 11-point advantage in front of second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Sevilla

The March international break could not have come at the best moment for Sevilla. Los Rojiblancos are coming off from successive La Liga defeats – against Valencia and Leganes respectively – which saw them drop to sixth place in the standings.

Having been pushed down the table to the last remaining European slot, the Andalusians will have used the international break to regroup and gain much-needed confidence ahead of a crucial period in the season which starts with a bang. Barcelona are coming to town for arguably the standout fixture of the weekend and a game that would be a huge test of Sevilla’s character. Vincenzo Montella’s men have shown clear signs of improvement but three defeats in last five La Liga matches are much less than the Italian bargained for. Los Rojiblancos should be complimented for their fine Champions League run, however, which saw them eliminate the Premier League giants Manchester United thanks to a remarkable 2-1 win in England following a goalless draw in Spain. Montella will look to motivate his players to reproduce the same level of performance this time out as they lock horns with Barcelona hoping to inflict their first defeat of the season.

Team News

Pablo Sarabia is suspended for the occasion while Jesus Navas and Daniel Carrico are racing to be fit.

Jose Mena, Sebastien Corchia, Lionel Carole and Sergio Escudero are all unavailable for selection due to their respective injuries.

Barcelona

With only nine games remaining in La Liga, Barcelona boast a firm hold of the title already, thanks to the 11-point lead ahead of the second-placed Atletico Madrid.

The Catalans will not be relaxing just yet and will definitely be looking to make a huge step towards their 25th La Liga title with a win at Pizjuan. Flying high on the back of a four-match winning run in all competitions, the Catalans will look to extend the streak which would also be a valuable morale boost at a crucial period of the campaign. Ernesto Valverde has done a terrific job to solidify his side and make Barcelona the best defensive side this season in La Liga. Four clean sheets in their last four matches attest to the strength at the back. Barcelona allowed only 13 goals this entire season but this fantastic record will be put to a strong test this time out, due to a couple of selection issues Valverde is facing. The Blaugrana coach could be without up to six first-team players for the Saturday’s match and that could be a potential problem for the visiting side. The biggest question mark remains over the availability of Leo Messi who missed Argentina’s friendlies against Italy and Spain with an adductor problem.

Team News

Luis Suarez and Ivan Rakitic came back from the break with 37,000 kilometres travelled between the pair and could be rested for the match.

Marc-Andre ter Stegen returned to Spain with a knee injury, whereas Gerrard Pique is concerned over a persistent knock in his right knee. Sergio Busquets could be another notable absentee is he fails to recover from his fractured metatarsal in time for Sevilla.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona are yet to lose a single La Liga match this season
  • The Catalans only conceded 13 goals in 29 league matches
  • Sevilla are coming off from back-to-back La Liga defeats
  • Ernesto Valverde could be without 6 first team players for the Saturday match
  • Blaugrana kept a clean sheet in their last four matches in all competitions

Conclusion

Sevilla have suffered a dip in form which saw them lose consecutive La Liga matches, although the hugely important 2-1 win over Manchester United got sandwiched in between to make the impression better. The Catalans make a trip to Andalusia without several key players which could be the element worth considering when choosing the final outcome for this game.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 7/12

Bookmaker: 888sport

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Milos Markovic


Formerly a Chief Editor at the largest sports site in Serbia Sportske.net, Milos Markovic is an avid football writer who contributes to a variety of online football magazines - most prominently Soccernews.com and Futbolgrad.com. His feature articles, editorials, interviews and match analyses have provided informed opinion and views, helping the football aficionados keep up to date on relevant events in world football.

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Barca wins 3:1

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