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Match Previews

Barcelona vs Sevilla: Match Preview

Hariharan Balaji

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Header Image by David Ramírez / Zuma via Imago

Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona have been nothing but rampant in the opening two games. Now, they face their first real obstacle in this road for the rebuild. The Catalans host the Europa League winners at the Camp Nou. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Sevilla.


Date and kick-off time: Sunday 04 October 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou

Competition: La Liga, matchday 5

Referee: Jesús Gil Manzano


Overview

The opening two games of this new season have been a breath of fresh air for the Cules. While the game vs Villarreal showed the individual brilliance and the change in the system, the later showed the enhanced team spirit and mental strength. The way the team played even after being down by one showed immense promise and a change of mentality at the club. 

Ronald Koeman has done very well till now, although the teams faced by Barça have not been at their best lately. Now, he faces a complete side helmed by the impressive Julen Lopetegui. Since the appointment of the Spaniard, Sevilla have been showing great promise and results, finishing fourth and winning the Europa League last season. Despite the heartbreaking loss in the Super Cup final, they held the Bavarians for more than 100 minutes and could have easily won the cup if not for the brilliance of Manuel Neuer. 

Barcelona and Sevilla are the only teams in La Liga this season with 100 per cent records, and only one will keep theirs at the end of this fixture. Not all La Liga clubs have hit their full stride yet, and a win here would put either of the two sides at a significant advantage at the top. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Two games, two wins, seven goals scored and zero conceded. Ronald Koeman has not only got the results so far but has done so in some style. The Dutchman has provided the right context for the players to thrive, and the players have repaid glamourously. Despite having only ten men on the pitch vs Celta, Barça still dominated the home side, getting better chances and finishing the game with a clean-sheet. 

“We have only been together for five weeks, the team and the staff, and we are working well. It was noticeable against Celta, where we won suffering with one player less.”

Ronald Koeman

With the red card, Clément Lenglet is out of this game, and Ronald Araújo will fill in for him. In the 45 plus minutes, the Uruguayan was reliable enough for the gaffer to trust him for a high profile game like this. The rest of the starting eleven picks itself aside from a case of fatigue from the last game. The much-awaited debut of the new right-back, Sergiño Dest could happen in the second half. 

Fans cannot conclude much from a game where the team played with ten men for the majority of the time. But, for the optimists, the team defended as a unit, with the pressing effective in both phases. The same must continue against a much superior attack posing an imperial threat from the wings. With only three days between the two games, maintaining the same intensity for 90 minutes might be difficult. But, with five substitutes and an improved bench quality, Barça might just get through.

What to expect from Sevilla?

Julen Lopetegui’s change of fortunes is such a heart-warmer for any neutral fan. From getting sacked from both the Spanish National team and Real Madrid within a matter of months to winning the Europa League with Sevilla, he has redeemed himself. Julen Lopetegui’s tactical nous alongside the return of Monchi as the Sporting Director has once again put Los Palanganas back in trophy-winning ways. 

“Sevilla are strong and it will be a difficult game, but we play at home, we have two victories and we trust ourselves.”

Ronald Koeman

Monchi has replaced Ever Banega with another veteran and Sevilla legend in Rakitic. Marcos Acuña replaces the impressive Reguilon after the loan period ended. With the addition of Óscar Rodríguez, the team looks set for the season. Apart from finishing some chances, the side does almost everything right. The threat from the wings is constant, and with a forward like Luuk de Jong, the opposition centre-backs can never slack for a cross. 

Fernando might be the pivotal piece in the Spaniard’s system, organising the play and shielding the backline. With Joan Jordán and Ivan Rakitic completing the midfield three, the creative burden lies on Suso and Joan Jordán to some extent. Rakitic late arrivals into the box might be a useful ploy against attacking sides. Jules Koundé must be at his absolute best to deal with Barça’s front four, and there’s every chance that he will be up to the task. 


Form

FC Barcelona

Previous games: WWWWW

Celta Vigo 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 4–0 Villarreal | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Elche | Joan Gamper Trophy
Barcelona 3–1 Girona | Club Friendly
Barcelona 3–1 Gimnastic| Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

7th
6 points in 2 games
2 wins, 0 draws and 0 losses
7 Goals Scored, 0 Goals Conceded
+7 Goal Difference

Sevilla FC

Previous games: WWLLW

Sevilla 1–0 Levante | La Liga
Cadiz 1–3 Sevilla| La Liga
Bayern Munich 2–1 Sevilla | UEFA Super Cup
Sevilla 0–1 Athletic Bilbao | Club Friendly
Sevilla 2–1 Athletic Bilbao | Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

8th
6 points in 2 games
2 win, 0 draw and 0 losses
4 Goals Scored, 1 Goal Conceded
+3 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Sevilla 0–0 Barcelona | La Liga, 19/20
Barcelona 4–0 Sevilla | La Liga, 19/20
Sevilla 2–4 Barcelona | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 6–1 Sevilla | Copa del Rey
Sevilla 2–0 Barcelona | Copa del Rey


Match facts

• Barcelona have won 24 of their last 27 home matches (LaLiga).

• Sevilla are undefeated in their last 17 matches (LaLiga).

• Barcelona have won their last 6 home matches against Sevilla in all competitions.

• Sevilla have kept a clean sheet in 6 of their last 8 matches (LaLiga).

• Ivan Rakitic returns to the Camp Nou to face his previous side.


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Junior Firpo
Suspended: Clément Lenglet

Possible line-up

4–2–3–1
Neto
Roberto · Piqué · Ronald Araújo · Jordi Alba
Frenkie de Jong · Busquets
Coutinho
Griezmann · Messi · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman

Sevilla FC

Absences

Injured: Sébastien Corchia, Carlos Fernández, Bryan Gil
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–3–3
Bono
Navas · Koundé · Carlos · Acuña
Joan Jordán · Fernando · Rakitic
Suso · Luuk de Jong · Ocampos
Coach: Julen Lopetegui


Predictions

For both the teams, the game will be a litmus test on how much they are prepared for the season. Sevilla’s Camp Nou visits have not been pretty for them, and with the Catalan side in form, Julen must set his side up to express their A-game to get a result out of this. Ronald Koeman will look forward to passing his first big challenge of the season and getting ready for the imminent El Classico. The writer’s prediction for the game: 3-1 win for the Catalans. 

I got into watching football for the emotions of it. A goal followed by a crazy celebration from the player gave me goosebumps. But, watching the beautiful game over the years, I realised it was much more than just goals. The passing, the movements, the positioning and the effort involved behind the scenes opened my eyes to what football was. I keep trying to learn more about this incredible game and pass on what I learnt with a tinge of passion attached to it.

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Match Previews

Barcelona vs Ferencváros: Match Preview

Hariharan Balaji

Published

on

Photo by GABRIEL BOUYS/AFP via Getty Images

Just three days after the gruelling game away at Getafe, Barça are back in action again. Champions League starts once again, as the Catalans prepare for their first home game of the campaign. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Ferencváros. 


Date and kick-off time: Tuesday 20 October 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou

Competition: UEFA Champions League, Group Stage, Matchday 1

Referee: Sandro Schärer


Overview

The Champions League is back. The grandest of stages of club football is returning once again, barely two months after last season’s final. The group stages of the UEFA Champions League start this week with Barcelona in the group G. The first matchday sees Barça host Ferencváros in the Camp Nou, with Juventus and Dynamo Kyiv to follow in the coming weeks. 

The competition has not been kind to Barcelona lately with disappointments reigning over happiness in the last four seasons. But, with a new coach, new players, and a new season, anything can change. The players can approach the new campaign with a fresh mindset without the pressure of being overwhelming favourites

“We’re not the best favourites to win the Champions League, but we can go far.”

Ronald Koeman (pre-match press conference)

The visitors are playing their first official game against Barcelona in their history. The Hungarians are back in the Champions League after a few stints in the Europa League. They have reached here after playing the qualifications and the playoffs and have accustomed to the competition. Nonetheless, they are the underdogs of Group G, and a positive result on the first matchday would send a statement to the other teams. 

The hosts are understandably the favourites in the matchup, and the fans would expect a statement victory here to win them over. The hosts come from a defeat on the weekend, while the visitors remain unbeaten in their league. The Champions League can spring surprises out of nowhere, and the weekend of surprises could extend for the sake of the visitors. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Barça have played four official games this season coming into this game. While the first two displayed the strengths of the team, the latter two revealed the weaknesses of the new system and the players. Ronald Koeman has stuck with his 4-2-3-1 for all the games, and a lack of plan B is appalling. In the last two games, where the team struggled to break down blocks or navigate press, Koeman has just thrown in attacking players as subs

While the attacking quality and technical proficiency are omnipresent, the lack of understanding between the players is concerning. However, the season is just getting started, and it would get better over the course of the season. The squad is arguably better and younger than previous seasons despite a few deficiencies in certain areas. 

The squad list will mostly remain the same as the last game with none of the injured players expected to return. With Real Madrid game on the weekend, a little rotation is likely from Ronald Koeman. Most of the players have travelled and played a lot during the international break, and this game could be a chance to rest them. Irrespective of the eleven in place, the prime objective would be to win the game with a good performance setting up for the next games. 

What to expect from Ferencváros?

The Hungarian Champions play Barcelona for the first time in an official game despite getting found on the same year as Barcelona(1899). Over the years, they have played multiple friendlies against Barça with the last one happening 43 years ago. From a statistical point of view, the Catalans are unbeaten over the six games that happened over the course of more than 50 years. 

The Zöld Sasok were one of the best teams in the country’s history during the mid 20th century. Hungary was the epitome of football during the era where they were better than any other country on the planet despite the lack of laurels. Ferencváros was Barça legend László Kubala’s home before he came to Spain as a refugee. He even returned to the Catalan club in a later stint as a coach. 

Ferencváros have a settled eleven that they have used over the season. They have primarily used 4-2-3-1, the same as Barça. With two league victories in the last two years, they have secured a spot in the UCL after 25 years. With nine goals in the five qualifying games, they have an able attack to challenge big teams on the counter. Tokmac Chol Nguen is their top scorer this season and can be a potential goal threat cutting in from the left. 

Coming into the game as obvious underdogs, they have a chance to spring a surprise with no expectations from their side. In recent years, Barça have struggled against the underdogs to some extent in the group stages. 


Form

FC Barcelona

Previous games: LDWWW

Getafe 1–0 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–1 Sevilla | La Liga
Celta Vigo 0–3 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 4–0 Villarreal | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Elche | Joan Gamper Trophy

Position in La Liga

9th
7 points in 4 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss
8 Goals Scored, 2 Goals Conceded
+6 Goal Difference

“We’ve played four games and we’ve scored eight goals, I don’t know if there is any team who does better. I’m not worried about scoring goals, we have enough quality. The last two games we’ve also played against teams that defend very well.”

Ronald Koeman (pre-match press conference)

Ferencváros TC

Previous games: WWDDW

Kisvarda 0–2 Ferencváros | Nemzeti Bajnokság
Ferencváros 2–1 Puskas Akademia| Nemzeti Bajnokság
Ferencváros 0–0 Molde | Nemzeti Bajnokság
Molde 3–3 Ferencváros | Nemzeti Bajnokság
Rackeve 1–6 Ferencváros | Magyur Kupa

Position in Nemzeti Bajnokság

1st
13 points in 5 games
4 win, 1 draw and 0 losses
12 Goals Scored, 3 Goal Conceded
+9 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Barcelona 3–0 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 2–2 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 3–3 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 4–0 Ferencváros | Friendly
Barcelona 2–0 Ferencváros | Friendly


Match facts

• Barcelona are undefeated in their last 5 matches against Ferencváros.

• The last game between the two teams happened 43 years ago.

• Ferencváros are undefeated in 12 of their last 13 matches (Champions League).


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Jordi Alba (Hamstring)
Suspended: 

Possible line-up

4–2–3–1
Neto
Roberto · Ronald Araújo · Lenglet · Dest
Frenkie de Jong · Pjanić 
Coutinho
Dembélé · Griezmann · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman

Ferencváros TC

Absences

Injured: None
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–2–31
Dibusz
Lovrencsics · Blazic · Kovacevic · Heister
Somalia · Kharatin·
Isael · Siger · Nguen
Boli
Coach: Serhiy Rebrov


Predictions

The first Champions League game of the season for Barcelona is with possibly the most comfortable opponent they could have had. Even with heavy rotations, winning this game should be a cake-walk. However, anything can happen on UCL nights. 

Barça Universal prediction: 4-0 win for the Catalans. 

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