After finishing a tough match against Osasuna, Julen Lopetegui's Sevilla face Barcelona in La Liga next

La Liga: Sevilla Battle Barcelona for Third Spot

Sevilla vs Barcelona

Sevilla and Barcelona will square off twice over the space of the next few days, the first of which will be a battle for third place in the La Liga standings.

Barca overtook Sevilla for third after their comfortable win in midweek, and with Atletico Madrid’s recent stumbles, the Catalans’ La Liga 2021 odds of winning the title are still very much alive.

But Barcelona will have their hands full against Sevilla, who beat Barca in the cup when they visited the Sanchez Pizjuan just a few weeks back and will be eager to extend their impressive run of La Liga 2021 results.

 

Talking Points

Sevilla so strong at home

Sevilla bounced back well from their disappointing 3-2 home defeat to Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League as they overcame Osasuna, 2-0. That win extended Sevilla’s impressive winning streak in La Liga to six games.

Moreover, they have lost just once in the league in 2021, which came away to league leaders Atletico Madrid.

Sevilla have been particularly strong at home, which was why their Dortmund defeat was so surprising. They have won five consecutive league games at the Sanchez Pizjuan, conceding just two goals and keeping four clean sheets during that time.

Their impressive home form also extends to the Copa del Rey, where they thumped Valencia 3-0 and defeated Barcelona 2-0 in their semi-final first leg.

 

Manager Julen Lopetegui handed a start to Luuk de Jong over top scorer Youssef En-Nesyri against Osasuna, and the Dutch striker delivered by scoring in his second straight appearance.

However, En-Nesyri — who has 17 goals for Sevilla this season — started in the cup match and is still expected to return to the starting XI against Barca.

Papu Gomez, who got the start against Dortmund, dropped to the bench. The Argentine started in the cup first leg against Barca, but Lopetegui could go with Munir El Haddadi instead. Munir, a former Barcelona youth product, played well at Osasuna and supplied the assist for de Jong’s goal.

 

Messi’s goals carrying Barca

Barcelona are back up to third spot after a comfortable 3-0 home win over second-from-bottom Elche. Lionel Messi bagged a second-half brace and Jordi Alba added a third.

That win was a welcome result after back-to-back setbacks for the Catalans: their 4-1 demolition at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League round of 16 and a 1-1 draw at home to Cadiz.

But that Cadiz draw aside, Barca have actually been in terrific form in the league. They are unbeaten in La Liga since December — where they lost to Cadiz — and have won eight of their nine league matches in 2021.

As usual, Messi has been a major part of that success. He now has six goals in his last four games and has overtaken old mate Luis Suarez for the league lead with 18 goals.

Lionel Messi’s brace gives Barcelona a comfortable La Liga victory over Elche

Lionel Messi grabbed a brace as Barcelona moved back into third place with a 3-0 win over Elche at the Camp Nou

Meanwhile, Martin Braithwaite also made a big impact as he had two assists after being handed a rare start.

Braithwaite was unavailable for the Copa del Rey match against Sevilla, but his fine performance puts him in the running to start alongside Messi. Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele, and Francisco Trincao are the other candidates to start out wide.

And on the other end, centre-back Samuel Umtiti started over Clement Lenglet, who conceded the late penalty in their draw with Cadiz. Lenglet has had a disappointing season thus far, so Umtiti could keep his place partnering Gerard Pique in the heart of Barca’s defence.

 

History

Sevilla have beaten Barcelona at home twice over the last two years, but both have come in the Copa del Rey. It has been a different story in the league, where Barca have dominated in recent matchups. The Catalans have won seven of their last 10 meetings, with Sevilla’s last win coming back in 2015.

Although, Sevilla have claimed back-to-back draws against the Spanish giants in the league. That includes a 1-1 draw in their first meeting this season at the Camp Nou. Luuk de Jong gave Sevilla an early lead in the eighth minute, but Philippe Coutinho equalised for Barca just two minutes later.

 

Betting Tip

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Sevilla vs Barcelona 1X2 Draw @ 3.40
February 27, 23:15 (GMT+8)

Unsurprisingly, the SBOTOP odds for this match between two of the top sides in Spain are quite close. Sevilla are slight 3.05 underdogs at home, while Barca are marginal 2.23 favourites to win. A draw is 3.40.

Sevilla appear to be the more solid of the two sides. Their defence – Dortmund aside – has been quite reliable and they do possess a few goals in them with En-Nesyri and de Jong. Meanwhile, Barca have struggled against the top sides this seasons, and even Messi has been unable to produce his magic in the big games.

But having said all of this, I expect another closely contested battle between these two, one that will ultimately end in a stalemate.

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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