Time: 9:30 PM
Venue: Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (Sevilla)
Still hopeful of breaking a current 17-year three-team hold on the crown of Spanish football, Sevilla needed a late goal beyond the 85th minute to win 2-1 against champions Atlético Madrid last time out, and make it three La Liga (LL) victories in a row. Next they will aim to break a long hoodoo against a Barcelona side still in transition under Xavi, having not won a LL H2H since October 2015 (D3, L8 following).
Sevilla have dropped just two points on home turf so far this campaign (W7, D1), whilst leading at half-time in six of those wins. Strong starts are a primary reason for that strong HT/FT record, as Sevilla have also scored the match opener within 20 minutes in six of their eight LL home games.
Barcelona needed a late 85th-minute goal to win at the weekend, after letting slip a 2-0 lead against rank underdogs Elche. It was a welcome change for the Catalan side, who have dropped points in three (D2, L1) of their last six LL games via goals beyond the 75th minute.
If the ‘Blaugrana’ can pick up a win, they will move temporarily into the top five. Momentum is beginning to show, as Barcelona are unbeaten across their last three LL away games (W1, D2), each time scoring the match opener. However, both draws saw Barcelona concede an equaliser beyond the 80th minute, showing that Xavi’s relatively fresh-faced squad are not infallible in the latter stages.
Players to watch: Former Barcelona man Ivan Rakitić has scored both of his LL goals for Sevilla this season on home turf. As for Barcelona’s current crop, Gavi continues to pull the strings, with one goal and two assists across their last two LL games making him the youngest goalscorer across the top-five European leagues this season as of Sunday evening.
Sevilla’s form in last 5 matches: WDWLW.
Barcelona’s form in last 5 matches: WDDLL.
PREDICTION: Home/ Draw