After securing a narrow victory against Real Betis, FC Barcelona will shift their attention to the weekend encounter against Sevilla, as they look to maintain their solid five-point lead at the top of the league table.
There are many incentives attached to this game, as coach Xavi Hernandez has reportedly promised the players two days of holiday next week if they can secure all three points. But apart from that, Barcelona are also poised to break a record that has been intact since the Pep Guardiola era.
Indeed, the club are heading into the Sevilla game with a record of just one goal conceded in the last ten home league matches. The only goal they conceded was against local rivals Espanyol in the highly-controversial derby at the end of last year.
Nevertheless, if Barcelona manage to keep another clean sheet against Sevilla, they will beat the record of the 2011/12 Barça team that had conceded only two goals in a stretch of ten home matches in the league.
During that 2011/12 edition, Barcelona had started the season with zero goals conceded in the first nine matches. But their perfect defensive record was tarnished when the Catalans, under the leadership of Pep Guardiola, conceded twice in a 4-2 victory over Real Betis.
While Pep’s Barça back then was chock-full of star defenders such as Gerard Pique, Puyol, Javier Mascherano, Dani Alves and Victor Valdes, Xavi’s 2022/23 edition of Barcelona are close to achieving that feat with a relatively modest and inexperienced setup.
This speaks volumes about how Xavi has managed to instill a sense of organisation and discipline into the Barcelona squad. It has been visible in the team’s performances in the domestic competitions this season, and should the team continue their good run against Sevilla, Barça will become the undisputed favourite to lift the league title this term.