Preview: Sevilla vs Barcelona

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Sevilla take on Barcelona at the Sanchez Pizjuan in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Barcelona qualified for this competition having done the domestic double last season beating Sevilla 2-0 aet in the final of the Copa del Rey. Sevilla will therefore be looking for revenge for that defeat and will be hoping to mimic Athletic Bilbao who stunned Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg of last year’s Spanish Super Cup. Similar to that game Barcelona will again be without the services of Neymar (Olympics) and Jordi Alba (not called up by Luis Enrique) out of the travelling squad.

While Barcelona’s squad is generally settled, Sevilla’s team has undergone a major revamp with coach Unai Emery moving on to Paris St. Germain and the likes of Beto, Ever Banega, Kevin Gamiero, Fernando Llorente, Grzegorz Kruchowiak, Coke and Jose Antonio Reyes all moving on. In many senses it was the end of an era with several of the aforementioned players being a part of Sevilla’s hat-trick of Europa League titles. But as usual, Sevilla with the superstar sporting director Monchi have done good business in the market getting former Chile coach Jorge Sampaoli in along with Pable Sarabia, Lucas Kranvitter, Ganso, Luciano Vietto and Gabriel Mercado.

Sevilla come into the game having won all 6 of their pre-season games only to lose the European Supercup final in excruciating fashion to Real Madrid. Barcelona meanwhile have looked very shaky in defence all pre-season allowing 9 goals in their 4 games. The Spanish Supercup promises to be a fascinating encounter with goals all round.

Recent Head to Head:

2015/2016

Copa del Rey

May 2016 Barcelona 2 Sevilla 0

La Liga

Feb 2016 Barcelona 2 Sevilla 1

Oct 2015 Sevilla 2 Barcelona 1

European Super Cup

Aug 2015 Barcelona 5 Sevilla 4 aet.

2014/2015

La Liga

Apr 2015 Sevilla 2 Barcelona 2

Nov 2014 Barcelona 5 Sevilla 1

Key Man Watch

Lionel Messi: Messi has been in superb form this pre-season racking up the goals and assists at will.On a ground in recent seasons where Barcelona have found it difficult to get good results the Blaugrana will be looking to their greatest ever player to guide them to yet another trophy.

Luciano Vietto: The Argentine striker could have been starting this game for Barcelona had things worked out differently. Instead he will lead the Sevilla front line against a Barcelona defence that has given up almost 2 goals per game in the pre-season. He will no doubt be looking to show Barcelona what they missed out on as he attempts to get his career back on track in Seville.

Possible starting xi

Bravo; Sergi Roberto; Mascherano; Pique; Digne; Rakitic; Busquets; Iniesta; Arda; Messi; Suarez

Prediction

Barcelona have traditionally found the going tough at Sevilla having not won on their last 2 trips to Seville. Given that their defence has appeared far from settled this pre-season it would be no surprise to sell quite a few goals fly in during this one. Sevilla 2 Barcelona 2

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