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

:Headline: Preview: Barcelona vs. Sevilla – prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Sevilla, including team news and predicted lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to make it three straight La Liga wins when they welcome Sevilla to Camp Nou on Sunday night.

The Catalan giants have struggled to show their best form in the early stages of the campaign but are only two points off division leaders Real Madrid, while Sevilla sit sixth on the same points as Barca.


It would be fair to say that it has been a tough start to the season for Ernesto Valverde's side, who have already lost twice in Spain's top flight this term. Lionel Messi's recent injury problems have really harmed the side, although things appear to be looking up for the Spanish champions following three straight wins in all competitions.

The 2-0 loss at Granada on September 21 was a low point for the team, but the results since then have been impressive. Indeed, back-to-back wins over Villarreal and Getafe followed the two-goal defeat, before Luis Suarez netted twice in a 2-1 win over Inter Milan in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Barca were actually seriously outplayed in the first half of the European tie with Inter, who deservedly led at the break courtesy of a smart finish from Lautaro Martinez in the early exchanges. Suarez came up with an impressive double for the home side, though, as they moved onto four points in the section.

As mentioned, Valverde's side have already lost twice in the league this season, but they are only two points off division leaders Real Madrid. Indeed, a bunched-up league sees the top seven separated by three points, and a couple of poor or indeed good results could change a team's position entirely in a matter of two weeks.

It is an interesting period of the season for the Spanish champions as they face Sevilla and Eibar in their next two league matches before travelling to the Czech Republic to face Sparta Prague on October 23. Then comes the small matter of a home game against Real Madrid, who are going nicely in the league.

The fact that Messi was able to complete 90 minutes against Inter during the week is a huge positive for Barca. While undoubtedly a talented team, it is difficult to imagine the Catalan giants challenging for the major honours this season without the presence of the Argentina international.

Only Villarreal (18) have scored more league goals than Barca (16) this season, but Valverde's side have shipped 10 down the other end, which is one of the poorer records in the division.

That said, picking up results at home has not been a problem this term. Indeed, they have won all three of their La Liga fixtures at Camp Nou, scoring 12 times. Valverde's side have already netted two fives on home soil this season, which is a worry for Sevilla ahead of the contest.

Recent form: WDWLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WDLWWW


Like Barca, Sevilla have also been in European action this week, recording a 1-0 win over APOEL in their second Europa League group game on Thursday night. As a result, Julen Lopetegui's side will not have had long to prepare for this game, although alterations in terms of personnel are expected from the clash at the Estadio Ramon.

Four wins, one draw and two defeats – that is how Sevilla have performed in the league this season, which is an identical record to Barca. Like the champions, Lopetegui's team are just two points off the top of the table and will have their eye on one of the first two positions ahead of this weekend's contest.

Sevilla opened their 2019-20 La Liga campaign with back-to-back wins over Espanyol and Granada, before drawing 1-1 at Celta Vigo on August 30. A 1-0 victory over Alaves followed to leave the 1945-46 Spanish title winners with 10 points from their first four matches of the season.

Back-to-back defeats to Real Madrid and Eibar halted Sevilla's progress, although they returned to winning ways at home to Real Sociedad last weekend, shading a five-goal thriller at the Estadio Ramon which saw Franco Vazquez net late on.

Sevilla's sixth-place finish last season was seen as a disappointment, even if they were only two points off the final Champions League position. There is no top-level European football to enjoy this season, although they are one of the teams fancied to advance deep into Europe's second competition.

Now under the management of Lopetegui, there was a lot of change ahead of the 2019-20 campaign with the likes of Wissam Ben Yedder and Pablo Sarabia moving on – both had been excellent servants for the club but decided to seek pastures new with moves to Monaco and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.

Sevilla have not actually beaten Barca in the league since October 2015, while the fixture has been utterly dominated by the Catalan giants over the years. The team were quite toothless in their home defeat to Real Madrid last month, meanwhile, and the supporters will certainly be demanding an improvement on Sunday.

Recent form: WDWLLW
Recent form (all competitions): WWLLWW

Team News

Barca will once again be without Jordi Alba due to a hamstring problem, while Junior Firpo is a doubt due to a muscular issue, meaning that Valverde has a problem at left-back heading into Sunday's contest.

Nelson Semedo is capable of playing left-back, though, and that is expected to be the case on Sunday night with Sergi Roberto dropping from midfield to right-back.

There is also an issue in central defence with Samuel Umtiti out with a foot injury and Clement Lenglet suspended following his red card against Getafe last weekend. As a result, Jean-Clair Todibo is expected to come into the XI for a rare appearance alongside Gerard Pique.

Elsewhere, Ansu Fati should be available after missing the clash with Inter due to growing pains in his knees, while Suarez is expected to start despite it being announced that the striker would not be joining up with Uruguay over the next international break to undergo 'medical treatment'.

Ousmane Dembele will be pushing for a start in the final third of the field, although Antoine Griezmann is expected to keep his spot despite a disappointing performance against Inter last time out.

As for Sevilla, head coach Lopetegui has just one injury concern with centre-back Daniel Carrico expected to miss out. As a result, Jules Kounde should partner Diego Carlos at the back, while Joan Jordan could feature in central midfield.

Luuk de Jong is yet to find the back of the net for Sevilla this season, but the experienced forward is expected to get the nod in attack once again. Meanwhile, the likes of Nolito, Sergio Reguilon and Ever Banega should return, having been left out of the starting XI against APOEL.

Barcelona possible starting lineup: Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Todibo, Semedo; Arthur, Busquets, De Jong; Griezmann, Suarez, Messi

Sevilla possible starting lineup: Vaclik; Navas, Carlos, Kounde, Reguilon; Banega, Fernando, Jordan; Ocampos, De Jong, Nolito

Head To Head

Barca lead the overall head-to-head 36 wins to Sevilla's 12, while the final 13 fixtures have finished level.

As mentioned, Sevilla have not beaten the Catalan giants in the league since October 2015, while they lost both fixtures last season 4-2.

Barca have actually been victorious in the seven league meetings between the two teams at Camp Nou since Sevilla claimed a 0-0 draw in October 2011.

We say: Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla

Sevilla are certainly capable of picking up a result at Camp Nou, although it is difficult to back against Barca due to their excellent record in this fixture. We fancy Valverde's side to concede but to ultimately secure all three points, which would lead them nicely into the next international break.

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