MX23RW : Thursday, June 4 21:08:24| >> :120:8231:8231:
Feb 23, 2019 at 3.15pm UK at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (Sevilla)
Attendance: 40,661
Navas (22'), Mercado (42')
FT(HT: 2-1)
Messi (26', 67', 85'), Suarez (90')

Preview: Sevilla vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Barcelona's trip to Sevilla in La Liga this weekend.

One of the most eagerly-anticipated fixtures in the La Liga calendar will take place at the Estadio Ramon this weekend as top-four hopefuls Sevilla host Spanish champions Barcelona.

Sevilla are currently fourth in Spain's top flight on 37 points, while Barca lead the way, seven points clear of second-placed Atletico Madrid ahead of Week 25.


Pablo Sarabia celebrates scoring during the Supercopa de Espana between Sevilla and Barcelona on August 12, 2018© Reuters

Ten wins, seven draws and seven defeats - that is how Sevilla have performed in the league this season, with a total of 37 points leaving them in fourth spot in the table.

Pablo Machin's side are just a point clear of fifth-placed Getafe, though, and actually sit just three points clear of seventh-placed Real Sociedad, which is an indication of how tight it is in the race for fourth position.

It seems almost certain that Barca, Atletico and Real Madrid will finish as the top three, leaving a number of teams battling for the fourth and final Champions League qualification spot.

Only Real Madrid (41) and Barca (61) have scored more league goals than Sevilla (38) this season, but Machin's team have shipped 28 goals down the other end, which is perhaps too many at this stage for a top-four team.

Sevilla suffered a 3-0 defeat at Villarreal in the league last weekend, but will enter this match off the back of a 2-0 victory over Lazio in the Europa League, which secured their spot in the next round courtesy of a 3-0 aggregate success.

League form has been a real issue since the start of 2019, winning just one of their seven matches since the winter break. They thumped Levante 5-0 on January 26 but have since lost to Celta Vigo and Villarreal, in addition to drawing 2-2 against Eibar in their last domestic home match on February 10.

A poor result this weekend will more than likely see Sevilla drop out of the top four, which would be a concern when considering that they have some tough games against the likes of Sociedad and Valencia over the next few weeks, in addition to a trip to Espanyol.

Sevilla did beat Barca at the Estadio Ramon in the Copa del Rey earlier this season, though, and there is no question that they have the players to make it a very difficult afternoon for the league leaders.

Recent form: LLWLDL
Recent form (all competitions): LLDWLW


Barcelona forward Lionel Messi celebrates with teammates after scoring during his side's La Liga match against Girona on September 23, 2018© Reuters

Barca have been far from their best in recent weeks, but the treble is still very much on for the Catalan giants, who will be looking to stretch their lead at the top of La Liga with a win on Saturday afternoon.

Ernesto Valverde's side currently top the table on 54 points - seven points clear of second-placed Atletico. The Catalan giants are nine points ahead of third-placed Los Blancos, meanwhile, and it would have to be some collapse from the reigning champions to allow Real Madrid back into the title race at this stage.

Barca only just squeezed past Real Valladolid last weekend courtesy of a 1-0 win, though, and they will enter this match off the back of a goalless draw away to Lyon in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash.

The draw in France means that Barca have actually only won one of their last five games in all competitions, drawing the other four. It is a huge period of the season for Valverde's team as they prepare for three important matches.

Indeed, they will follow the trip to Sevilla by visiting Real Madrid for the second leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, with the last-four clash level at 1-1 following an exciting first leg at Camp Nou.

Barca will then travel to the European champions for another Clasico in the league on March 2. Next month, meanwhile, will also bring the second leg of their last-16 Champions League tie at home to Lyon.

Luis Suarez's Champions League struggles continued during the week, while Lionel Messi has not been quite himself since picking up a thigh injury earlier this month, which will be a concern to the club's supporters.

Barca are still sitting comfortably in Spain's top flight, however, and will fancy their chances of putting three points on the board when they travel to an out-of-form Sevilla side.

Recent form: WWWDDW
Recent form (all competitions): WDDDWD

Team News

Ernesto Valverde watches on during the Champions League group game between Barcelona and PSV Eindhoven on September 18, 2018© Reuters

Sevilla will once again be without the services of Nolito and Aleix Vidal through injury, while Roque Mesa is suspended. Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder, though, will both return to the starting XI.

Sarabia and Ben Yedder were left on the bench against Villarreal in the league last weekend, but both started and indeed scored against Lazio during the week.

Gabriel Mercado and Sergio Escudero are also expected to keep their spots following the Lazio clash, with Munir El Haddadi likely to start on the bench against his former club.

As for Barca, Rafinha, Jasper Cillessen, Arthur and Thomas Vermaelen are still unavailable for Valverde.

Samuel Umtiti is in line for a start having returned to the squad against Lyon, but Barca will be wary when it comes to the centre-back, who has found it tough to overcome a knee problem.

Arturo Vidal could return in the middle of the park, but Philippe Coutinho looks likely to be on the bench once again, with Ousmane Dembele joining Luis Suarez and Messi in attack.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:
Vaclik; Gomez, Kjaer, Mercado; Navas, Sarabia, Banega, Vazquez, Escudero; A Silva, Ben Yedder

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, Alba; Vidal, Busquets, Rakitic; Dembele, L Suarez, Messi

Head To Head

As mentioned, the pair have already met in the Copa del Rey this season. Sevilla won the first leg of their quarter-final 2-0 at the Estadio Ramon, but Barca recorded a 6-1 victory in the return match to advance.

Barca also recorded a 4-2 win in the reverse league match earlier this season, but the corresponding fixture at the Estadio Ramon last term finished in a 2-2 draw.

Sevilla have not beaten Barca in a league match since a 2-1 home success in October 2015.

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We say: Sevilla 1-2 Barcelona

Sevilla's league form has been disappointing in 2019 and we fancy Barca to record all three points courtesy of a narrow win at the Estadio Ramon.


Who will win Saturday's La Liga clash in Seville?

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Barcelona players celebrate scoring against Levante in the Copa del Rey on January 17, 2019.
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rhs 2.0
2Real Madrid27168349193056
4Real Sociedad27144945331246
6Atletico MadridAtletico271112431211045
10Athletic Bilbao2791082923637
12Real Betis2789103843-533
15Real Valladolid27611102333-1029
17Celta Vigo27511112234-1226

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