Competition: La Liga 2019/20
Matchday: Matchday 30
Date and Time: Friday, Jun 19, 10 pm CET
Venue: Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium, Seville, Spain
Referee: José Luis González González
Barcelona faces their toughest fixture so far since the return to top-flight football in the form of an away game to third-placed Sevilla. Seeing Real Madrid are matching the Blaugrana result for a result, nothing in La Liga is decided and this encounter will be one of the most crucial, if not the most crucial game remaining this season.
On the last game at home, Barcelona outplayed Leganes 2-0 with a beautiful curler from Ansu Fati from outside the box and a penalty scored by Lionel Messi after a masterful dribble into the box by the little magician. Ansu Fati recorded his fifth goal of the season and put Barcelona firmly in the lead of the game after scoring a half volley from a pass from Junior Firpo. Messi doubled the tally after scoring a penalty to put him on 699 goals overall. Another good game under Setien’s belt sees Barca in good shape for the difficult fixture.
Sevilla meanwhile comes off a 1-1 draw against mid-table Levante after conceding a late own-goal. Julen Lopetegui has performed wonders with this Sevilla side and has repaired his reputation after his stint with Real Madrid. Sevilla is now in a prime spot for qualification to the Champions League as they are 2 points ahead of 4th-placed Atletico Madrid.
Trips to Seville have been scary in the past, but the last time we faced them, it ended 4-0 to the Azulgranas. Barcelona will face a challenge as Sevilla will look to out-possess the league leaders. But, if we play our good, flowing and attacking football, we should be looking for a win.
This game will be a cracker
Sevilla: 3rd place; 51 points
Barcelona: 1st place; 64 points
This is the team to travel to Seville, as chosen by Quique Setien
The youth players featuring are Iñaki Peña, Riqui Puig, Alex Collado, Ansu Fati, Ronald Araujo, Saverio, Chumi and Monchu.
Ousmane Dembele is still out with his long-term hamstring injury. Barcelona has 2 more injury blows for Frenkie De Jong and Sergi Roberto, who suffered a calf strain and a fractured rib respectively. Samuel Umtiti is out as he is suspended for the fixture.
The expected lineup
Considering that this is a very important game, Setien will come out with the best possible team that he can put together while being careful about the game against Bilbao next. Expect Barca to take advantage of the 5 substitutes rule.
In defence, Ter Stegen should start between the sticks as the goalkeeper. Jordi Alba will return to the starting XI after his one-match ban and replace Junior Firpo at left-back, while Nelson Semedo should slot in at right-back. Gerard Pique should be fit despite getting injured after a knock against Leganes and will pair up with Clement Lenglet at central defence.
In midfield, Setien has a lot of options as several players push their claim to the starting XI. Sergio Busquets should start as the central defensive midfielder. Arturo Vidal should return to the team but is only one yellow card off a suspension, so he needs to be cautious there. As De Jong and Roberto are out, the manager has to pick between Arthur and Rakitic. Rakitic looked better than Arthur in his role over the midweek and might get the nod over Arthur to complete the midfield
In attack, Setien has plenty of decisions to make. Lionel Messi is the only player set in stone to lead the team out as captain. Ansu Fati turned in a performance of the highest quality and staked his claim to start against Sevilla. Martin Braithwaite was unused against his previous team and thus is fresh to start.
Luis Suarez is fit again but has not started yet for Barca. This might be his first start of the season after the restart.
The only bone for contention is Antoine Griezmann. He put in two underwhelming performances in a row against Mallorca and Leganes. However, he is still trusted by the manager to start games.
Barcelona 3 Sevilla 2
The game will definitely be difficult as Lopetegui has warned Barcelona that he will be pushing them to the limit as bellow
“Barcelona are a great team and they also have Messi, that’s all there is to it. We will try to be a recognisable side, we are in many things but we have to go to the limit, not just in stopping Messi.”
But if Barcelona put in their A-game, they should win.
Visca El Barca!