Friday, May 24, 2019

Prediction: Sevilla vs Barcelona

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

Two of the best sides in La Liga this season will go head-to-head this Saturday at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. On one hand, Sevilla are looking to keep themselves in the Top 4 of the standings, and are in dire need of a win based on their recent performances. But they will host a Barcelona side that keeps inching closer and closer to the league title after each week. This star-studded contest will kick of at 15:15 GMT.

Sevilla

Sevilla are in a tough spot since they’re also further than what they would like in a potential title race. Los Nervionenses managed to hang on in the title race during the first 15 matches of the season, but have crumbled afterwards. They have maintained themselves among the top four of the standings, but it’s not a secret that they have not been nearly as good as they had been earlier in the season. To note, Sevilla have won just one of their previous five Liga matches (W1, D1, L3), but their home form has saved them considerably. Through 11 home matches, Pablo Machin’s men have registered seven wins and just one defeat (W7, D3, L1), while scoring 20 times and conceding just eight. That classifies them as the third-best home attack and the second-best home defence, a combination that will always give pretty good results. But they will face their toughest home test of the season since they will take on the current league leaders, Barcelona. Can they produce another upset, just like the one they delivered in the Copa del Rey weeks ago?

Team News

Nolito has been ruled out of this game with a broken leg. But he’s not the only Sevilla player that might miss this game out.

Sergio Escudero (muscle), Joris Gnagnon (thigh), Maxime Gonalons (broken ankle) and Aleix Vidal (muscle) are all doubtful. The same goes for Jesus Navas, who is dealing with a groin issue.

Barcelona

On the other hand, Los Blaugranas continue to get closer to a new league title and it seems no Liga side can stop them. Even though they haven’t looked at their best in some matches, Ernesto Valverde’s men continue to grind out results and the numbers do not lie. Aside from topping the league standings with 54 points (W16, D6, L2) and owning a seven-point gap over the second-placed Atletico Madrid, Barca also are the best home side (30 pts – W9, D3 ,L1) and the best away team (24 points – W7, D3, L1) on a separated basis. In short, they’re dominating the competition and they are not going to stop any time soon. They’re coming off a disappointing scoreless draw against Athletic Bilbao in their most recent away match, and there’s no doubt Barca will aim to get back to winning ways. The sooner they can wrap up the title race, the better for them. Especially considering they also remain alive on both the Copa del Rey and the UEFA Champions League.

Team News

Arthur (muscle injury), Jasper Cillessen (calf) and Rafinha (knee) are all out. The latter will miss the remainder of the season after going through surgery.

To make things even more complicated, there’s a chance Thomas Vermaelen does not play either since he’s dealing with a calf problem. He will be a game-time decision.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Both sides played in Europe earlier this week. Sevilla eliminated Lazio in the UEFA Europa League, while Barcelona settled for a 0-0 draw at Lyon in the first leg of their Champions League’s Round of 16 tie.
  • Four of the past five meetings (all competitions) between these two sides have ended producing over 2.5 goals. Three of those saw both teams scoring as well.
  • This will be the fifth meeting between both sides during the current season. Barcelona own the edge here, with three wins against Sevilla’s one. The most recent meeting ended in a huge 6-1 win for Barca in the Copa del Rey.
  • These two sides haven’t been involved in a scoreless draw since October 2011. Since then, these two teams have played 22 times in all competitions.
  • Sevilla have scored at least two goals in each of their last four home games. Meanwhile, Barca have not scored in three of their last four away matches.

Conclusion

Games involving these two sides this season have seen lots of goals, and that shouldn’t change here. Expect this one to have at least four goals in total.

Verdict: Over 3.5 goals scored – yes

Best Odds: 13/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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