Andres Iniesta had the first chance at goal in the fourth minute, but his shot was blocked by the Sevilla defenders.
Lionel Messi had a good shot on goal in the 22nd minute, but Sevilla goalkeeper Beto held his ground and made the save. Messi had several free kicks to try and convert into goals, but all of them were high.
Sevilla opened the scoring in the 42nd minute. A free kick led to Alberto Botia heading in the ball past Victor Valdes for the 1-0 lead. Once again, a set piece led to a goal against Barcelona. And once again, the defense could noy defend the set piece.
In the second half, David Villa equalized in the 52nd minute as a great pass by Dani Alves found el guaje, who put it in the back of the net for the 1-1 scoreline.
Messi gave Barcelona the lead in the 60th minute as Cristian Tello got the give and go working with Leo. Messi gave it to Tello, and Cristian passed it back to an open Messi for the second Barcelona goal.
With his goal, Lionel Messi extends his record of consecutive Liga games with a goal with 15.
Alvaro Negredo had a fantastic chance to tie it up in the 75th minute, but he missed terribly.
Tello had a nice chance late in the game, but his shot was nicely blocked by Sevilla. The Barcelona defense was not great, but it was good enough to hold on to the victory.
FINAL: FC Barcelona 2 - 1 Sevilla
Let's break down my three takeaways "From The Mind of Xoel" as FC Barcelona defeats Sevilla 2-1 at the Camp Nou on Saturday.
In the second half, Dani Alves sent a great cross to David Villa for the equalizer.
I felt a bit of nostalgia when I saw that goal. I remembered the Villa of old who would make those kind of goals at the striker position on a regular basis.
That being said, is it possible to move Villa to the striker position when needed for Barcelona?
I say, "Why not?"
As I mentioned in my previous article, I know David Villa isn't the el guaje of a few years ago, but he is a true striker, and someone needs to score other than Messi. Moving Leo back to the CAM position is possible. A move to the 3-4-3 would need to happen in certain games—like the upcoming AC Milan game.
Another option is to rotate Villa to the striker position when he is playing left-wing. This would require your LM, like Andres Iniesta or Cesc Fabregas, to cover the open spot on the left side.
There's nothing wrong with having a "Plan B."
Why not make David Villa a striker once again and make el guaje the central part of that Plan B?
As we saw in this game, the Barcelona defense is still not strong.
This probably won't change any time soon.
Sevilla took advantage of one of Barça's defensive weaknesses, the set piece, and were able to get the opening goal of the night thanks to former Barcelona B player Alberto Botia. Sevilla had plenty of chances to tie the game, including a great chance by Alvaro Negredo. Fortunately for Barcelona, the road team did not have enough to tie the game.
The question now becomes, "Does this defense have enough to stop Real Madrid in the upcoming Clásicos?"
I honestly hope so.
While the Barça defense has always played "good enough" against Madrid, this upcoming Clásico is going to be the biggest test of the 2012-13 season. Given that Angel Di Maria and Gonzalo Higuain are having down seasons, they along with Cristiano Ronaldo are always a threat to score. Expect the Madrid forwards to be more aggressive in the Copa del Rey Clásico than the Liga Clásico of next weekend, for obvious reasons.
La Liga is lost for Real Madrid. They will go all out this Tuesday for the Copa del Rey.
If this Barcelona defense wants to make one of the biggest statements of the season, we need to see a near-flawless performance against Real Madrid this Tuesday.
In my opinion, the main reason Barcelona were able to come back to defeat Sevilla was Cristian Tello.
At halftime, I felt that Barcelona needed Tello's speed for the second half. During the intermission, and before it was announced, I tweeted this:
I think Sanchez needs to be benched for the second half. Put in Cristian Tello. Need the kid's speed.
— Xoel Cárdenas (@XoelCardenas) February 23, 2013
A few minutes later, it was announced that Tello was coming into the game for Alexis Sanchez, due to an apparent discomfort in the Chilean's leg. As soon as I heard this, I tweeted this:
TELLO IN FOR ALEXIS! JORDI ROURA READ MY TWEETS!!!!!
— Xoel Cárdenas (@XoelCardenas) February 23, 2013
Thank you, Jordi Roura, for following me on Twitter, and reading my tweets. Or maybe it is Tito Vilanova that reads my tweets, and then gives the info to Roura. Either way, it's much appreciated.
Enough about me and my knowledge/ego. Let's get back to Tello.
Tello's speed and his ability to create crosses into the box made a major difference in the game and freed up Messi, Iniesta and others.
Tello's brilliance was notably seen in the game-winning goal by Messi. Cristian was left open on the left side when Leo found him. Unselfishly, Tello gave the ball back to Messi and the Argentine did the rest for the second goal.
Tello opens the pitch for FC Barcelona, and that is going to be needed against Real Madrid in the upcoming Clasicos, but especially for the second leg of the Champions League matchup against AC MIlan in a few weeks. Milan may decide to park the bus, so Barcelona must widen the threat. Tello can do this.
I'm not sure if Tello will get the start against Real Madrid in either of the upcoming Clasicos, but one thing I do know is that Cristian Tello must play against AC Milan in the Champions League. Start him or bring him off the bench for the second half. This team needs Tello!
Cristian Tello opens the pitch, and he may become one of the reasons why FC Barcelona comes back to defeat AC Milan in a few weeks.
Now that FC Barcelona got the taste of defeat out of their mouths with the 2-1 victory over Sevilla, it's time for two Clásicos in five days.
One at the Camp Nou for a spot in the Copa del Rey final.
The other at the Santiago Bernabeu in another Liga matchup.
We FC Barcelona fans want to see two wins against Madrid.
It will be tough to get two wins in a row, but the win that means more is the Copa game on Tuesday.
Barça were able to bounce back from a tough loss to come back and win against Sevilla on Saturday.
Now it's time to defend the Camp Nou, and for FC Barcelona to send Real Madrid out of the Copa del Rey.
¡Todo por La Copa!
Xoel, The Voice of FC Barcelona.
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