Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla
March 14th, 2011; 01:30 am, IST
Having secured the quarter final spot in the UCL, FC Barcelona resumes their quest for the La Liga with a tough away trip to Sevilla. Sánchez Pizjuán is one of the most intimidating places for any away team to travel to. Barcelona is facing a series of tough away matches and winning them would be crucial for their dual with Real Madrid. With the game during the midweek taking a lot out of them, FC Barcelona faces a tricky outing.
Sevilla are currently in the 8th spot and still can challenge for the European spot. They have had a very indifferent season so far. They had one of the worst first halves of season; nonetheless, their recent form is a little encouraging. However, Sevilla’s games with Barcelona are never dull. They always produce loads of goals. Sevilla have played three games against FC Barcelona this season, including the Supercopa, and has produced a total of 13 goals. All symptoms point to an attacking game with both teams preferring to score goals rather than sitting deep in defense.
This is also special for Alves, Keita and Adriano. All of them came to Barcelona from Sevilla. Adriano in a recent press conference expressed his feelings, “Whenever I go there it’s a special game. It was amazing in the Super Cup, where I got a nice reception … There will be a fantastic atmosphere. The fans tend to fill the stadium for games like this. It doesn’t matter where Sevilla are in the table.”
Team News and Tactical Brief
“Sevilla are capable of beating any rival and we have shown that,” said Sevilla’s President, Jose Maria Del Nido. It cannot be just laughed off, as Sevilla are known for an attacking brand of game and they have the tools to punish Barca. Moreover Barcelona are coming off a tough game against Arsenal that could have an impact on their match sharpness. Sevilla on the other hand are enjoying a good run in the league. After finding themselves near the drop zone, they nave managed to turn around their season and are now having a go at the European places. Sevilla are an attacking side and will be difficult to see them park the bus. Nevertheless, they have a solid backline, who likes to push up. With Negrado, Navas, Kanoute and Rakitic, they have enough quality to score goals against any team. Sevilla will look to stretch the Barca’s backline with their width, where the latter are vulnerable.
Sevilla has had their fair amount of injury worries throughout the season, which may have added to their inconsistent form so far. For this match, Sevilla goalkeeper Andres Palop and winger Diego Perotti are doubtful but striker Alvaro Negredo could return from the injury that he sustained last week. Luis Fabiano is no more with Sevilla, as he has finalized his move to Brazil. He will join Sao Paulo. Every since the return of Jesus Navas, their game has improved and is more threatening. Meanwhile the January signing, Rakitic, has been a revelation so far.
Probable Starting XI: Javi Varas, Cáceres, Fazio, Navarro, Dabo, Perotti, Rakitic, Gary, Navas, Kanoute, Negrado
After a tough game in the midweek, Pep’s men will be looking to continue their march in the La Liga. They are not yet sharp in front of the goal. Pep has expressed the concerns of his team creating loads of chances and yet failing to finish the opponents off. Barcelona knows the importance of this game and will be fielding a strong team with little changes. Guardiola, has with the exception of Puyol, a full strength squad to choose from.
Pep will be aware of the threat of Jesus Navas on the flanks and to counter the pace, Adriano will be the better option than Maxwell. Pique will be available again and he will partner Abidal in central defense. After the performances of Mascherano, Pep will have to decide who to play in the central defensive position. Mascherano will bring the strong defensive setup. Pep will go with his strong midfield of Xavi and Iniesta. The front line has to finish off the chances created to have a comfortable night.
Probable Starting Eleven: Valdes, Adriano, Pique, Abidal, Alves, Mascherano, Xavi, Iniesta, Messi, Pedro, Villa
- In 9 home games, as coach, Sevilla’s Manzano won 3 times against Barcelona.
- Manzano’s home record vs Guardiola: 1 Win – 1 Draw – 1 Loss.
- Barcelona has the highest successful pass completion percentage in La Liga – 89.4%
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Dani Alves (FC Barcelona)
The man who joined Barcelona from Sevilla, is now considered to be the best in his position. He is quick, skilled and has the endurance to keep running for the entire 90 minutes. According to his teammates, he is the one, who always look forward to playing the extra time. Such is his stamina and energy. His partnership with Xavi and Messi has brought truck loads of goals and he is a vital part of Pep’s plans. It is difficult to keep away Messi from this section, but what Alves brings to Messi and the team cannot be ignored.
Sevilla 1-3 FC Barcelona
Barcelona has been missing chances a lot recently, which looks similar to that of their early season. Barcelona hit the peak during November and started to pile up goals for fun. This second part of the season is also looking similar with the team controlling the matches and creating loads of chances. It may be high time the strikers finish off all these chances. Sevilla on the other hand are not bad in scoring either, but with Barcelona’s control of matches, chances will be very less for Sevilla.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST