Sunday’s showdown at the Camp Nou between Barcelona and Sevilla will headline La Liga Matchday 9, with the hosts hoping to end a 2-game winless home streak.
Although the holders started the defending campaign strongly, having clinched four consecutive league triumphs, they’ve failed to demonstrate desirable performance in the past few weeks. Apart from a 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, the Blaugrana have been held to three draws in the previous four La Liga encounters, while losing 2-1 to Leganes in the process. Moreover, the Catalans haven’t kept a clean sheet in the league since August, and with nine goals conceded, they are the worst defensive team in the top five.
Meanwhile, Los Hispalenses are playing their best football in many years, as they currently top La Liga table with a record of five wins, one draw, and two losses. Additionally, with 18 goals scored, Los Rojiblancos are the second-best attacking team in the Spanish top flight, behind Barcelona. Furthermore, 13 out of 18 goals they’ve notched so far came on the road, with Sevilla outclassing Rayo Vallecano, Levante, and Eibar, losing only to city rivals Betis in the process. However, the Andalusians are yet to keep a clean sheet away from the Estadio Raman Sanchez Pizjuan, with Pablo Machin urging his defenders to step up their game and break the negative streak sooner rather than later.
Ernesto Valverde won’t be able to count on Thomas Vermaelen, Samuel Umtiti, and Sergi Roberto, as all are struggling with injuries, while the appearance of Luis Suarez still hangs in the balance. As for the visitors, Gabriel Mercado, Sergio Escudero, and Ibrahim Amadou won’t be traveling to Catalonia with the rest of the squad due to various physical problems.
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