Catalan giants Barcelona square off with Sevilla at Camp Nou on Sunday evening in what is expected to be a fascinating encounter.
Despite all the drama surrounding Lionel Messi in the summer and the exit of a few key players including Luis Suarez, Barcelona have got off to the perfect start under Koeman winning their opening two goals while scoring seven unanswered goals in the process. The Dutchman will have been particularly pleased with the character of his team in the midweek match at Celta Vigo which they won 3-0 despite playing the whole of the second half with 10 men following the dismissal of defender Clement Lenglet in the 42nd minute for his second bookable offence of the half.
Messi’s decision to stay seems to have emboldened the team and the return of Coutinho has also been a good plus for them following the departure of Suarez. Wonderkid Ansu Fati has also provided a huge spark for the attack and he leads the team with 3 goals in the two games.
Sevilla had a glorious campaign in Europe last season that ended in them lifting the Europa Cup for a record-extending sixth time in their sixth appearance at the finals. They came close to adding a UEFA Supercup to their collection but just came up short against Champions League winners Bayern Munich.
Their focus quickly shifted back to the La Liga where, just like Barcelona, they have had a 100% start to the seasons with two wins in two games. They came from behind to beat newly-promoted Cadiz 3-1 on opening day before grinding out a 1-0 win over Levante with the winning goal from substitute Youssef En-Nesyri deep in injury time.
Under Julen Lopetegui, Sevilla have been a transformed team. They proved themselves when they won last season’s Europa League by beating highly fancied opponents like Manchester United and Inter Milan in the semis and the finals. They are on a 17 game unbeaten run in the La Liga going back to last season. A major reason for the success they have had is the solid defensive discipline instituted by Lopetegui. The Andalusians have one of the best centre-back pairings in La Liga in Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde. They drew 0-0 with Barcelona in June but keeping the Catalan giants quiet for 90 minutes this time is easier said than done. We can, however, expect that Sevilla will try and keep the game as tight as possible, particularly to start and we are going with Bwin’s First half Goal Under 1.5 option @ 1.60 for our first betting prediction for this game.
Sevilla did not lose any of their key players from the Europa championship run in the transfer market. That means there is a bit of fluidity and continuity in the team and that could work in their favour against a Barcelona team with so many new pieces. Bwin betting app have priced a handicap +2 Sevilla Win @ 1.48 and given their style of play and the killer instinct they have shown in recent months, we quite fancy that as our final call for this match.
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