If there is a team that might feel somewhat confident about going toe-to-toe with Barcelona, it is Sevilla. While the Catalans won both contests between the teams last year, it was by a 5-3 margin, as the Sevillistas gave mighty Barcelona all they could handle.
Of course, that was before losing attackers like Jesus Navas and Alvaro Negredo to Manchester City and midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia to Monaco.
With plenty of turnover on the team sheet, a trip to Camp Nou facing Barca and players like Lionel Messi, Neymar and Andres Iniesta to deal with, Sevilla's task is tall. Nonetheless, this should end up being an entertaining, competitive match.
When: Saturday, September 14 at 2 p.m. ET (7 p.m. BST)
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
Odds: Barcelona (73.9 percent), Sevilla (11.4 percent) and draw (14.7 percent), according to Bloomberg Sports
All of the changes Sevilla underwent this summer have shown in their early play, as the club have managed just two points (and three goals) in their first three contests. Of course, when you lose your leader in goals (Negredo scored 25 in La Liga play) and a crafty winger in Navas (six assists), that is to be expected.
For the Catalans, this contest is business as usual. Thus far, the team has three wins in as many games and has knocked in 11 goals, conceding only two. Messi and Neymar seem to be forging a productive on-pitch relationship, while Cesc Fabregas has been nothing short of brilliant.
With the Champions League beginning this week, the Catalans would surely love to head into a contest against Ajax with the momentum of three weekend points at their back.
Sevilla did well to bring in players—including Kevin Gameiro and Marko Marin—to replace those lost, but this is a team that was always going to struggle to steal points against Barcelona, even before their stars were sold. Given their shaky open to the season, it's hard to see them even earning a draw.
This is the Barcelona football machine, after all—they chug along with their tiki-taka ways, holding all of Spain ransom as they put opponents to sleep with their metronomic passing and technical prowess. Why would this game be any different?
Barcelona wins, 3-1.
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