Lionel Messi decided to stay at La Liga side Barcelona for one more season

La Liga: Early Pacesetters Clash at Camp Nou

Barcelona vs Sevilla

Ask anyone 12 months ago which of these sides would have won a European trophy last term and all the betting odds would have favoured Barcelona.

Yet fast forward a year and it’s Sevilla who are upwardly mobile, fresh from their superb Europa League triumph over Inter Milan six weeks ago.

Barcelona, meanwhile, have seemingly lurched from crisis to crisis – knocked out of Europe in humiliating fashion by eventual winners Bayern Munich and losing their La Liga crown to arch-rivals Real Madrid.

And with two wins from their opening two matches, could now be a good time for Julen Lopetegui’s Sevilla to travel to the Nou Camp?

 

Talking Points

Granted, Barcelona also have two wins from two but there appears to be genuine momentum with Sevilla.

Lopetegui has integrated the great work of sporting director Monchi, helping Jules Kounde and Diego Carlos form one of the most solid defensive partnerships in Europe and they will travel with respect but not fear.

It will be interesting to see if new Barca boss Ronald Koeman has strengthened his squad by the time this kicks-off on Sunday evening.

Young full-back Sergino Dest is the latest talent off the Ajax production line to head to pastures new and, by the time you read this, perhaps Lyon frontman Memphis Depay has joined him.

Yet it’s at the heart of the defence where Koeman’s main concerns lies with a rearguard in need of strengthening, with Clement Lenglet the latest absentee for this match after being sent off against Celta Vigo on Thursday night.

Once again, the one player we could all be talking about at the end of the night is Lionel Messi who has scored more goals for Barcelona against than Sevilla than any other opponent.

Certainly, they are his most doused opponents in Spain with the Argentine maestro netting a staggering 37 times – even more impressively, a tally reached in just 39 games!

This SBOTOP observer expects him to be influential again and I expect La Liga highlights too between two attacking-minded teams, although it’s hard to know who will prevail.

Sevilla sit at 6th place in the La Liga table behind Barcelona with equal points

Sevilla players celebrate after winning the Europa League title

The hosts start as favourites but this is not the Barcelona we have been used to over the past 15 years and, while there have also been more adept Sevilla sides, this is a team fast improving under Lopetegui.

A compelling encounter awaits.

 

History

Last season this fixture was a one-sided affair as Barca ran riot in the Nou Camp.

Almost a year to the day in fact, as the Catalans won 4-0 with goals from Luis Suarez (now Atletico Madrid), Arturo Vidal (now Inter Milan), Ousmane Dembele (possibly being allowed to leave) and Messi (yet to sign a new contract).

The return fixture ended goalless and proved crucial as Real Madrid reeled Barca in to win the title.

There’s no question, Barcelona have rather enjoyed their encounters in recent seasons.

When the teams sides met in Seville at the start of 2019, Sevilla recorded a 2-0 home win with goals from Pablo Sarabia and Wissam Ben Yedder.

But don’t be fooled – that was in the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final and, a week later, Barcelona thrashed the Andalusians 6-1 in the second leg for a 6-3 aggregate win, courtesy of goals from Philippe Coutinho (two), Ivan Rakitic (now back at Sevilla), Sergio Roberto, Suarez and Messi – even though the outcome of the tie remained in the balance until the closing stages.

It was one of four Barca wins over them during 2018/19.

Barcelona won both these league fixtures by a 4-2 scoreline, with Messi on the scoresheet in both games including a hat-trick away from home.

They also triumphed when the two sides met in the Spanish Super Cup.

You have to go back to 2002 for last time Sevilla won at the Nou Camp in the top flight, although they did claim the 2006 UEFA Super Cup as Renato, Frédéric Kanouté and Enzo Maresca all scored to beat then then European champions in Monaco.

Overall, the sides have met on 152 occasions in the league with Barca winning 83, Sevilla 36 and 33 draws.

 

Betting Tip

??
Barcelona vs SevillaTotal Goals 4-6 @ 2.60
October 5, 03:00 (GMT+8)

Barcelona 1X2 @ 1.60 and Sevilla 1X2 @ 5.20 shows how it’s very rare to bet against Barca in their own backyard. The draw @ 4.00 will attract some of you no doubt.

With Asian Handicap odds, Barcelona – 1.25 @ 2.33 and Sevilla +0.75 @ 2.12 further illustrates the difference in expectation.

I am not expecting a repeat of last year’s corresponding fixture – correct score 4-0 – @ 29.00, but I am expecting goals.

To me, this will be anything but tight! Its against both sides DNA.

A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR (??) BETS ARE WORTH:
?? = €20 (Highly confident)?? = €10 (CONFIDENT)?? = €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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