When Sevilla and Barcelona revealed their starting lineups ahead of Friday’s clash, a still from 2016 began doing the rounds across the globe. It was a clip from a previous El Clasico fixture where a young nine-year-old Lamine Yamal was seen holding Sergio Ramos’ hand as the teams made their way onto the field.
Seven years later, the two players started on opposite sides of the field. Almost poetically, it was Ramos’ own goal off Yamal’s header that gave the Catalans three crucial points.
With this win, Sevilla’s winless streak away to Barcelona extended to 21. However, the win was far from simple for Xavi Hernandez’s side.
Barça Universal brings you three talking points from Barcelona 1-0 Sevilla.
La Masia’s night
Barcelona dished out an impressive and comprehensive performance against Sevilla last night. The Catalans were not only more dominant but also created significantly more chances.
Such a display would not be possible without an equal contribution from all the players in garner-and-blue. Yet, two players absolutely stood out on the night for Xavi Hernandez’s side, both of whom are graduates of Barcelona’s La Masia.
The usual suspect, Gavi, was at it once again last night as he completed the 90 minutes with as much energy as he began. He started the game as one of the two natural midfielders in the lineup and once again showed why he is the soul of this Barcelona team.
In 90 minutes, the youngster completed 85% of his passes and provided two key passes. He also completed all four long balls and two of the three dribbles that he attempted.
Defensively, the prodigy was on a separate rung of his own. He made two clearances, a tackle, an interception, blocked one shot, and won seven duels on the night. His energy and exuberance did not drop until the final whistle, and every Barcelona attack appeared to go through his channel.
The second player who really impressed was Fermin Lopez. The youngster entered the field of play after Raphinha’s injury and turned its course on its head.
His every touch was silky smooth on the night, as he went on to do the visitors dirty with his skills. Moreover, Lopez showed a knack for finding the right spaces and a mastery of the art of spatial awareness that La Masia specialises in.
He completed 100% of his dribbles, 90% of his passes one key pass, and 11 defensive actions on the night. He also created one big chance.
Cancelo steals the show
Joao Cancelo’s arrival has revitalised Barcelona’s right flank in attack. The right-back adds a serious threat down the flank and has adapted quickly to life under Xavi Hernandez.
The Portuguese international may not have directly contributed to the goal last night, but he was rightfully declared the team’s MVP at the end of the match. After all, he not only created an attacking threat on the night but was also defensively on point.
Cancelo completed 80% of his passes against Sevilla, creating four key passes and two big chances in the process. He was unlucky to not get an assist to his name after Joao Felix blasted the team’s best chance on the crossbar in the first half.
The full-back also recorded two clearances, an interception, three tackles, and won eight duels at Estadi Olimpic Lluis Companys. His four successful dribbles were the cherry on the cake.
Far more dominant than the scorecard suggests
On another night, Barcelona would have sealed the result against Sevilla in the first half with the same performance. Such was the Blaugranas’ attacking flair on the night that the 1-0 scoreline flatters Sevilla.
Jose Luis Mendilibar deployed a high defensive line last night, as he has done with all his teams over the years. His plan backfired, however, for Barcelona’s speed on the counter and accuracy with distribution was phenomenal.
Xavi Hernandez’s men created an xG of close to 2.5 at Montjuic, but their poor finishing let them down time and time again.
Joao Felix was perhaps the Barcelona player with the most chances against Sevilla. He came painfully close to opening the scoring thrice in the first half, with one attempt striking the crossbar and falling on the goal line. However, it spilled over to the wrong side of the goal.
Robert Lewandowski, Ferran Torres, Lamine Yamal, and Jules Kounde were amongst the other Barcelona players with good chances. Every shot, however, somehow went painfully wide of the target.
The hosts finished the game with 18 shots, four of which were on target and nine blocked. They even had a stunning four big chances, all of which they missed on the night.