Sevilla - Barcelona Preview: The Catalans continue their pursuit of Real Madrid with a tough trip to Andalucia
Pep Guardiola's men travel to Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with the hosts coming off a damaging defeat to Sporting Gijon
By Martin Macdonald
Coke, Escude, Fazio, Navarro
Navas, Rakitic, Trochowski, Reyes
Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Adriano
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Messi, Cesc, Pedro
Sevilla will likely be missing influential striker Alvaro Negredo, who has returned to training with the Andalusian side, yet trained separately from his team-mates on Thursday due to his recovery from a hamstring injury. Emir Spahic will also miss the match but has returned to doing physical therapy exercises in training.
On a positive note for the hosts, Frederic Kanoute, Jesus Navas, and Gary Medel have shook off injuries and trained normally with the first-team squad this week.
Barcelona have been rocked by the news this week that Eric Abidal will have to undergo a liver transplant. The Frenchman battled the effects of a liver tumour last season, even managing to compete in the Champions League final. However, further surgery was always a possibility and the defender will have the operation in the next few weeks.
Pep Guardiola may have Alexis Sanchez and Thiago at his disposal after the pair trained fully on Thursday after appearing to have recovered from their hamstring and tibia injuries respectively. However, the pair may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Gerard Pique should return to the starting XI after serving his suspension and it is likely Carles Puyol will be given a rest for the Blaugrana.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- The last match between Sevilla and Barcelona saw Javi Varas keep the Catalans at bay with an outstanding performance between the sticks. Pep Guardiola's side were held to a goalless draw at Camp Nou.
- Sevilla slipped into the bottom half of the table after last weekend's shock defeat to Sporting Gijon. They now sit 11th on 33 points.
- Sevilla have scored nearly a third the amount of goals that Barcelona have notched up this season. The Catalans have netted 75 times and Michel Gonzalez's men have scored just 27 goals.
- Lionel Messi scored his 50th goal of the season in Barcelona's 2-0 victory over Racing Santander last weekend.
- Cesc Fabregas and Lionel Messi have notched up an astounding 65 goals and 47 assists between them so far this season.
- The last time Barca lost to Sevilla was in a Copa del Rey encounter in 2010, when they lwere defeated 2-1.
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Top 3 Predictions
Sevilla 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 14.91 %
Sevilla 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 13.33 %
Sevilla 1-4 FC Barcelona
- 8.24 %
|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|
|Mar 2, 2014||Sevilla 1 - Real Sociedad 0||LIGA|
|Feb 27, 2014||Sevilla 2 - NK Maribor 1||EL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Rayo Vallecano 0 - Sevilla 1||LIGA|
|Feb 20, 2014||NK Maribor 2 - Sevilla 2||EL|
|Feb 16, 2014||Sevilla 0 - Valencia CF 0||LIGA|
|15||Jesús Navas González||Midfielder|
|14||Manu Del Moral||Striker|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
The Chilean must aim to provide an effective barrier in front of the Sevilla defence and look to squeeze the space for the Barca players to manoeuvre. If Medel can do this, Sevilla have a chance of seeing out the match.
50 goals so far this season and the Argentine is showing no signs of slacking up in his present form. It goes without saying that if Sevilla are going to get anything out of this match, then Messi will need to be handled.
The last two matches between the sides at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan have left Sevilla coming out with a draw and a win respectively, so Barcelona certainly have trouble on their travels to Andalucia. However, if Barca can maintain their present form, they should sneak an away victory.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed