After Real Madrid’s dramatic 3-2 win yesterday against Getafe, Barca needs a win tonight against Sevilla in order to keep the distance at 6 points.
This weekend, Barca won an easy 1-0 victory at Getafe, while Sevilla lost a 3-1 at Valencia in an amazing game. The game also resulted in a couple of suspensions for Sevilla, as left back Adriano got a straight red card and goalkeeper Palop received his 5th yellow card of the season. Playing without these two will definitely hurt their game. On the other hand, Barca is pretty much suspension and injury free. There have been doubts about Messi but he should be able to play tonight.
In their first encounter of the season, Barca won 3-0. However, the result could very well have been different as Sevilla pressured Barca and felt robbed of a penalty by the ref. In the last 15 minutes of the game Messi decided the game with two goals. Eto’o had put Barca ahead in the first half.
Against Getafe, Guardiola showed the rotations are pretty much a done deal by now. This means that there aren’t too many places in the team there are doubt about.
Expected Barca lineup:
Alves, Marquez, Pique, Puyol
Messi, Eto’o, Henry
Valdes will obviously start. Pique and Marquez have been rocks in central defense lately. Abidal looked shaky against Getafe and I think playing Puyol in left back is the best defensive option right now.
In midfield, Yaya is a dead giveaway as he was rested against Getafe. Xavi and Iniesta will definitely start, although I’m unsure if Iniesta will start in midfield or in the attack. He could start in the attack instead of Messi, who was ill yesterday, or in his more natural position instead of Henry who had a very bad game against Getafe. If Iniesta starts in either of the attacking positions, Keita will take his place in midfield. Keita, like Pique, in his best form of the season lately. Eto’o is a certain starter in the attack.
Expected Sevilla lineup:
Mosquera, Escude, Squillaci, F. Navarro
Navas, Duscher, Romaric, Perotti
Sevilla have, due to their suspensions, some problems in their defensive lines. Javi Varas will start instead of Palop, while former FC Barcelona player Fernando Navarro is expected to start in left back instead of Adriano. Luis Fabiano has seen himself slip out of the starting lineup recently and that will probably continue tonight. So besides the changes due to suspensions I think the lineup will be the same as against Valencia.
Steffen Risager is the editor of www.elbarca.net.