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Primera División

  • March 17, 2012
  • • 19:00
  • • Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Sevilla
  • Referee: José Luis González González
  • • Attendance: 40000
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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


PROBABLE LINE-UPS

SEVILLA



Palop
Coke, Escude, Fazio, Navarro

Medel

Navas, Rakitic, Trochowski, Reyes
Kanoute


BARCELONA


Valdes
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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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Andrés PalopGoalkeeper
3Fernando NavarroDefender
5Emir SpahicDefender
-Julien EscudéDefender
27LunaDefender
15Jesús Navas GonzálezMidfielder
24Gary MedelMidfielder
4Ivan RakiticMidfielder
21ReyesStriker
14Manu Del MoralStriker
12Fred KanoutéStriker
-Javi VarasGoalkeeper
27CalaDefender
-RodriguezDefender
19PerottiMidfielder
15Piotr TrochowskiMidfielder
7NegredoStriker
9Baba DiawaraStriker
12Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
21AdrianoDefender
4Cesc FàbregasMidfielder
6XaviMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
5BusquetsMidfielder
10MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
5Carles PuyolDefender
5MuniesaDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
9Alexis SánchezStriker
37TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Gary Medel
Gary Medel
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 24
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
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.
Messi
Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
3 2 0 0
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.
Prediction
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.
Editor's Prediction

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