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Preview: Sevilla vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups
21/12/2021 11:39:50

Sevilla play host to Barcelona on Tuesday evening having recorded three successive wins in La Liga, the most recent coming against Atletico Madrid.

Meanwhile, Barcelona make the trip to the Ramon Sanchez-Pizjuan Stadium on the back of a much-needed 3-2 victory over struggling Elche.

We say: Sevilla 2-1 Barcelona

While both managers will consider changes given the quick turnaround, we still feel that the end result will be the same. Barcelona should be competitive in a game which they will feel they need to win, but we can only back Sevilla to edge a close fixture.

Match preview

Xavi has endured a difficult start to life back at his former club with Barcelona failing to win convincingly in any of his seven matches in all competitions.

Nevertheless, 10 points from a possible 15 is respectable enough when taking everything into consideration, and it has left the Catalan giants within touching distance of the top four.

Getting the best out of an array of youngsters will be a work in progress throughout the campaign, but three of them were able to get on the scoresheet during the 3-2 thriller with Elche.

Seventeen-year-old Gavi has arguably been the standout performer, although it would perhaps be unfair to single out the playmaker when so many other prospects have made an impact during the last few weeks.

While Barcelona will feel like they are on a marginally upward curve, they now face three away games in succession, the first coming against opponents who have replaced them as Real Madrid's main rivals for the title.

Having bowed out of the Champions League and only narrowly avoided a shock exit to Andratx in the Copa del Rey, Julen Lopetegui cannot be overly satisfied with his team's recent efforts.

However, three victories in a row in the league - against Villarreal, Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid respectively - have created distance between themselves and the chasing pack.

Sevilla had been on course to draw 1-1 with Atletico before Lucas Ocampos scored two minutes from time, the Argentine having now chipped in with five strikes and two assists during his last nine outings.

Possessing the best defensive record in the league, Lopetegui will be confident of recording another three points, but it remains to be seen whether facing opponents the size of Atletico and Barcelona in the space of three days after such a busy period will prove one step too far.

Team News

Sevilla will be able to call upon Fernando with the midfielder having served his one-match suspension for five yellow cards.

However, Gonzalo Montiel is expected to miss out through injury, and it leaves Lopetegui with an issue at right-back with Jesus Navas also on the sidelines.

Nemanja Gudelj and Ludwig Augustinsson are both in contention to deputise, while Rafa Mir should return in attack.

Gerard Pique is back from a one-match ban, but a recall to a three-man backline is not a foregone conclusion.

Frenkie de Jong will be assessed after being withdrawn through fatigue at the weekend, with Philippe Coutinho an alternative to Ousmane Dembele if Xavi is against risking the Frenchman twice in three days.

Nico Gonzalez may also get the nod down the middle of the attack after his decisive goal as a substitute versus Elche.

Sevilla possible starting lineup:

Bounou; Augustinsson, Kounde, Carlos, Rekik; Jordan, Fernando, Rakitic; Ocampos, Mir, Gomez

Barcelona possible starting lineup:

Ter Stegen; Araujo, Garcia, Lenglet; Busquets, De Jong, Alba, Gavi; Coutinho, Gonzalez, Ezzalzouli

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