A severely depleted Barcelona squad will be travelling to Andalusia to face Jorge Sampaoli’s high flying Sevilla side.
Speaking in his pre-match press conference, the Barcelona boss insisted that he was well aware of how difficult the game will be, and how hard it is to beat the Andalusians at home. “It will be a difficult game as Sevilla are in a strong position. To win we will need to get the upper hand in the individual battles all over the pitch. Sevilla has had a spectacular start to the season playing good football and they are very hard to beat at home. If they are in a strong league position it is because they deserve it and this will be a tough game against a difficult opponent.”
Those ‘individual battles’ will be hard fought, as Sevilla will surely be desperate to take advantage of a crippled Barcelona side who are just coming off a 3-1 thrashing against Manchester City in the Champions League. The champions will be without first team regulars Andres Iniesta, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique, and also without Aleix Vidal and Jeremy Mathieu going into this tie. According to the squad list announced on the club’s official website, youngsters Nili and Marlon have been named in the squad to make up the numbers.
The biggest name on the injured list is easily that of club captain Andres Iniesta. The playmaker’s absence in midfield was felt against Manchester City and Sevilla will surely not take this chance for granted. Former Sevilla-loanee Denis Suarez, now at Barcelona, is expected to take his place in midfield alongside Ivan Rakitic and Sergio Busquets and it will be interesting to see how the youngster fills in for Iniesta.
Ter Stegen will take his place in goal, with Cillessen on the bench. Barcelona’s back four will likely comprise of Sergi Roberto at right-back, Samuel Umtiti will take Pique’s place in the middle of defence alongside Javier Mascherano, with Lucas Digne stepping in for Jordi Alba at left-back. The front 3 of Messi, Suarez and Neymar will remain unchanged, with Paco Alcacer, Rafinha and Arda Turan all present on the bench. Summer acquisition Andre Gomes will step in for Busquets, should the need arise.