As the La Liga reaches its climax with only eight games left to play, the next two matches could have a huge say in deciding who will win the title – Barcelona or Real Madrid.
Barcelona face Sevilla at the Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday before having to host Nuno’s high flying Valencia. The Blaugrana will also face Champions Atletico Madrid in the penultimate game of the season. However, they are the most in-form team in the league at the moment, having won nine games in a row and losing just once in 20 matches in all competitions.
The league leaders should have enough quality to see off Sevilla’s challenge and ensure they maintain their four points gap with Real Madrid after the match. Luis Enrique will be looking to field a strong XI for this tie, with the likes of Neymar and Sergio Busquests all set to return.
Neymar was benched during Barcelona’s 4-0 win over Almeria in midweek at the Camp Nou. The Brazilian has scored 24 goals this season for Barcelona but has scored only twice in his last nine games.
With Lionel Messi on fire (33 goals already) and Luis Suarez getting back to his old best, the inclusion of Neymar would ensure Barcelona have their strongest attacking trio upfront.
In the midfield Busquets (back from suspension) will return to his normal position at the heart of midfield which will allow Javier Mascherano to join Gerard Pique in central defence.
Barcelona have enjoyed an overwhelming dominance over Sevilla in recent years. In the corresponding fixture Messi scored a hattrick in Barcelona’s 5-1 victory, while Sevilla haven’t won against the Catalan outfit at home since 2006/07.
The task won’t be easy this time around. Los Hispalenses are currently one point behind fourth-placed Valencia and Unai Emery’s men will give their best to secure a positive result. Sevilla are on a roll here with five consecutive victories and boast a terrific home record, having not lost in their last 23 league games.
Barcelona should pick up three points against the Andalusian outfit but a rejuvenated Sevilla can pull up a shock result.