Barcelona vs Sevilla
Estadio Olimpico forms the backdrop for a mouth-watering La Liga showdown between Barcelona and Sevilla.
Barcelona’s imperious six-game winning streak across all competitions ended abruptly in midweek La Liga action as they battled back twice to hold Mallorca to a goal-glutted 2-2 away draw. Despite being knocked down from a five-match winning league streak, Xavi Hernandez’s men have maintained a near-perfect start to their title defense (W5, D2). Perhaps more importantly, their frontline kept delivering the goods after some shaky moments last term, netting 2+ goals in seven consecutive matches since a scoreless draw at Getafe on the opening La Liga weekend. Despite being stripped of Camp Nou comforts, the ‘Blaugrana’ have excelled at Estadio Olimpico this season, winning all four competitive games via an aggregate score of 15-3, most recently overhauling a two-goal deficit beyond the 80-minute mark to beat Celta Vigo 3-2.
On the other hand, Sevilla reigned supreme in midweek La Liga action, trouncing rock-bottom Almeria 5-1 on home turf to set themselves up nicely for this trip. Jose Luis Mendilibar was only recently one of the front-running candidates to become the first La Liga manager to be relieved of his duties. But after a four-match winless start to the season, all competitions included, the 62-year-old tactician has turned his side’s fortunes around, masterminding a four-game unbeaten streak (W2, D2). However, Sevilla’s bid to make it four unbeaten La Liga fixtures in a row faces a formidable task, knowing their last top-flight triumph over Barcelona dates back to October 2015 (D4, L11 since). Moreover, it’s been over two decades since they last won a match at Camp Nou in La Liga, meaning a trip to Estadio Olimpico could be a welcoming change.