Barcelona hosted Sevilla at the Olympic Saint Montjuic today in the hopes of getting back to winning ways after a disappointing 2-2 draw against Mallorca in midweek.
Both teams had released official press released prior to the game with regards to the Negreira case, and the tensions were already flaring high, which translated pretty well on the pitch.
Xavi lined up his team in a 4-2-3-1, with Raphinha as the no. 10, playing just in front of Ilkay Gundogan and Gavi.
Barça found it difficult to break down Jose Luis Mendilibar’s side, but were presented with a wonderful opportunity through Joao Felix, who could only rattle the crossbar with his attempt.
The major talking point occurred in the 37th minute, though, as Raphinha had to be substituted off through a hamstring injury, with Fermin Lopez coming on.
Eventally after relentless attacking, Barcelona found their breakthrough courtesy of an own goal from none other than Sergio Ramos, who found it difficult to intercept Lamine Yamal’s header.
Marc-Andre ter Stegen: 7
ter Stegen was tidy in possession, finding midfielders on the ball to start attacks. Did well to stop both attempts fired his way.
Joao Cancelo: 8
By far the best player on the pitch for Barcelona in the first-half, creating two brilliant chances for Felix and Raphinha. He did lose possession casually a few times, but made up for it more often than not.
Jules Kounde: 8
Sevilla were largely toothless in attack, which helped the centre-backs. As for Kounde, the Frenchman dealt with counter-attacks pretty well, and was also brilliant with his long passes from the back. Eventually, defended Barcelona’s lead till the end brilliantly.
Andreas Christensen: 8
Neat as they come on the ball, Christensen stopped the Sevilla attack in their tracks multiple times stepping out of the defence for clearances. His comfort stepping out to defend helped Barcelona come out with all three points.
Alejandro Balde: 7
Balde started the game well, creating a couple of solid chances, but eventually slowed down as the game went on.
Raphinha looked comfortable in the no. 10 role, taking risks and distributing the ball to all corners of the pitch. Came close to scoring a couple of times, but alas, had to be taken off due to injury.
Ilkay Gundogan: 8
Gundogan recycled possession tremendously in the 6 role, and kept the aggressive Sevilla midfield at bay at all times. His spatial awareness opened up multiple avenues for Barcelona’s attackers. Created multiple chances through corners, as well.
The in-form Gavi continued to impress today as he pulled the strings from a deeper position today, but with high prowess. Ran throughout the game, and had multiple crucial defensive actions, including a clearance off the line. Man of the match, once again.
Lamine Yamal: 7
Yamal looked very clumsy in the first-half, and understandably so, but he grew into the game in the second half as he rocked the Sevilla defence with his footwork and pace. Eventually his header slotted in by Sergio Ramos turned to be the game-winner.
Robert Lewandowski: 7
Pretty invisible in the first half as Barcelona, Lewandowski came alive in the second with some creative moves and flicks. Came close to scoring a couple of times, as well, but has to do better.
Joao Felix: 6
Far from Felix’s best performance as he missed the best chance of the game, and could not do much in attack. Hooked for Ferran Torres around the 70th minute mark.
Fermin Lopez: 7.5
Came on in the first half and changes the direction of the midfield completely with his intensity and creativity. Created a brilliant chance for Lewandowski.
Ferran Torres: 4
Came on to add attacking depth to the team, but had to do a lot of chasing after Barcelona scored five minutes of his coming on.
Oriol Romeu: 6
Came on to defend Barcelona’s narrow 1-0 lead, and did brilliantly to screen the defence.