Sevilla-Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana looking to bounce back against Rojiblancos
The Catalans slipped to second place in the Primera Division after a shock loss at home to Valencia, so will be desperate for three points at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan
Sevilla's players and supporters may be cursing Valencia ahead of Sunday's Liga meeting with Barcelona.
A meeting with the Spanish champions provides a daunting test at the best of times, but Gerardo Martino's side are likely to be particularly focused this weekend after suffering a shock defeat in their previous league fixture.
Goals from Dani Parejo, Pablo Piatti and Paco Alcacer handed Valencia a 3-2 win at Camp Nou and condemned Barcelona to a first Liga defeat at home since April 2012.
The Catalan club returned to winning ways on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Real Sociedad in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final.
However, for the first time under Martino, Barca now face the challenge of reining in new league leaders.
Atletico Madrid hold a three-point lead at the summit after city rivals Real also dropped points in a 1-1 draw at Athletic Bilbao.
Forward Pedro, who is in line to make his 250th first-team appearance, underlined the significance of the match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.
He told Barca's official website: "This game is of utmost importance. We have a lot to play for.
"There is very little margin for error between now and the end of the season; we practically can't afford to make any mistakes."
Barca have claimed three points from their previous two games at Sevilla and are unbeaten in eight matches against the Andalucian outfit.
However, Sevilla wasted a golden opportunity to claim victory in last season's corresponding fixture, as late goals from Cesc Fabregas and David Villa completed a dramatic comeback for the visitors, who trailed 2-0 before eventually triumphing 3-2.
An injury-time strike from Alexis Sanchez ensured Barca also triumphed 3-2 when the sides met in September, while Sevilla went down by the same margin at Malaga last weekend.
Unai Emery's men have gone four games without a win since beating Getafe on January 5, a run that has damaged their hopes of securing European qualification.
Los Che will be without suspended full-back Coke, who picked up his fifth yellow card of the season at Malaga, while Stephane Mbia (knee) is a few weeks away from a return.
Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba are banned for Barcelona, while Neymar (ankle) appears unlikely to feature.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sevilla 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 17.61 %
Sevilla 0-4 FC Barcelona
- 14.18 %
Sevilla 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 9.69 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 9, 2014||Sevilla 1 - FC Barcelona 4|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 14, 2013||FC Barcelona 3 - Sevilla 2|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 23, 2013||FC Barcelona 2 - Sevilla 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 29, 2012||Sevilla 2 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Mar 17, 2012||Sevilla 0 - FC Barcelona 2|
|Apr 13, 2014||Betis 0 - Sevilla 2||LIGA|
|Apr 10, 2014||Sevilla 4 - Porto 1||EL|
|Apr 6, 2014||Sevilla 4 - Espanyol 1||LIGA|
|Apr 3, 2014||Porto 1 - Sevilla 0||EL|
|Mar 29, 2014||Celta 1 - Sevilla 0||LIGA|
|Returns:||Sevilla £60.00||Sign up with William Hill for a free bet up to £25|
|Returns:||Draw £44.00||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|Returns:||Barcelona £15.30||Sign up to Paddy Power for £250 in free bets|
|2||Federico Julián Fazio||Defender|
|-||Diogo José Rosário Gomes Figueiras||Defender|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|