By 90Min
November 03, 2017

League leaders Barcelona will look to maintain their four-point La Liga advantage, as Sevilla visit the Nou Camp on Saturday evening.

Having been held to a surprise 0-0 draw in Athens versus Olympiacos in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday night, Ernesto Valverde's men will seek to return to winning ways against their Andalusian opponents.

La Blaugrana's draw in Greece was just the second game in all competitions the Catalan giants have failed to win, with their 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano to Atletico Madrid last month the only other occasion this season, that Barca have dropped points.

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Sevilla arrive on the Spanish coast in fifth spot in the league standings, nine points behind Barcelona. 

Los Rojiblancos have won just twice in the last five league games, but come into this game on the back of a successful seven days, having beaten Leganes and Russian champions Spartak Moscow in midweek. 


Frenchman Wissam Ben Yedder has once again become the man to watch this season, with the 27-year-old striker having notched eight goals this campaign.

Here is everything you need to know ahead of the clash at the Nou Camp.


Classic Encounter

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For their most memorable encounter, we go back to the Uefa Super Cup meeting of two years ago in a nine-goal thriller which Barcelona edged 5-4 in Tbilisi.

After Ever Banega had given Jorge Sampaoli's men the lead, Messi scored another signature double before efforts from Rafinha and Luis Suarez either side of the break had given the Catalans a 4-1 lead.

In a remarkable turnaround however, goals from Jose Antonio Reyes, Kevin Gameiro and Yevhen Konoplyanka in the space of 24 minutes, took the game to extra-time in the Georgian capital.

With the game heading to penalties, Pedro Rodriguez - in his farewell appearance in a Barcelona short before moving to Chelsea - gave the club a moment to remember with the winner in the 115th minute of a classic.


Key Battle


Ivan Rakitic vs. Steven N'Zonzi

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With the visitors facing a potential defensive crisis with the absences of Daniel Carrico, Nico Pareja and possibly Clement Lenglet also, Sevilla are set to be stretched this weekend to an even greater degree by the likes of Lionel Messi et el.

The responsibility of Steven N'Zonzi in midfield then, serves a role of vital importance for Eduardo Berizzo's men. The Frenchman since his switch from Stoke City in 2015, has gone on to become on of the most consistent performers in Spain and stands as one of the more underrated defensive midfielders in Europe.

After Ivan Rakitic was rested on Wednesday with Paulinho lining up against the Greek's, the Croatian is set to return to Valverde's starting XI and will do battle with N'Zonzi.

Sevilla's combative midfielder has an eye for pass and aside from men in white's weaknesses in defence, through-balls are one of their definite strengths. For Sevilla to have any chance this weekend, the battle between the two men as out-and-out, box-to-box players could well determine the result in Catalonia this Saturday evening.


Team News

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Barcelona are without defender Sergi Roberto after the Spaniard was ruled out for up to five weeks with a hamstring injury. Like Sergi, midfielder Andre Gomes also sustained a problem to high thigh and is month away from a return to action.

The trio of Aleix Vidal, Arda Turan and Andres Iniesta are all doubts for the visit of Sevilla, with ankle and thigh problems respectively.

The versatile Rafinha is closing on full bill of health after April's meniscus injury, whilst Ousmane Dembele is out until the new year.

As documented, Sevilla approach the game with defensive headaches. With Carrico and Pareja absent with groin and thigh complaints, French centre-back Leglent could also miss out with an unknown issue.

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Midfielders Walter Montoya and Joaquin Correa should be passed fit, however Jose Mena Rodriguez is out with a groin injury 

Potential Barcelona Starting Lineup: ter-Stegen; Semedo, Mascherano, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Paulinho; Deulofeu, Suarez, Messi

Potential Sevilla Starting Lineup: Rico; Mercado, Kjaer, Lenglet, Escudero; N'Zonzi, Ganso, Banega, Nolito, Navas; Ben-Yedder


Prediction


Barcelona have been in imperious form this season but on the back of a failure to score in Europe, Sevilla could be in for a backlash this weekend.

With the visitors struggling to put out a full-strength back line also, the hosts will be licking their lips in anticipation.

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The Barca midfield is starting to show its age a touch however, and with the pace of Jesus Navas and Ben-Yedder, coupled with the industry of Banega and the trickery of Nolito on the flank, it may not be all one-way traffic.

Valverde's men however will be too much to handle, and should be comfortable winners.

Prediction: FC Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla

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