Hassan Chamas

What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Barcelona (1st; 43 points) vs Sevilla (5th; 30 points)
When: Saturday 16th January, 2010, at 22:00 CET
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain


It was a magical year for Barcelona, but ultimately, everything had to end at some point, with the Copa del Rey being their first out-of-reach title this season after their thrilling encounter with Sevilla in midweek. Pep Guardiola’s team crashed out of the King’s Cup courtesy of the away goals rule, with their 1-0 win over Sevilla at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium not enough to counter-balance the surprising 2-1 loss that the Andalucians inflicted upon them a week earlier.

On Saturday, the Camp Nou will host the third installment of the Barcelona-Sevilla January clashes. Carles Puyol and co will have to swiftly get over their cup blues, knowing perfectly well that should they allow the Sevillistas the space to manoeuvre, then their night might end up celebration-free, especially when their perennial foes Real Madrid appear to be picking up a gear with every match.

Copa Cream

With Sevilla coach Manolo Jimenez himself declaring earlier this season that La Liga is well beyond his team’s reach, his side concentrated on the mouth-savouring cup double-bill against holders Barcelona. On both occasions, Los Rojiblancos displayed admirable football, even with star players such as Didier Zokora and Frederic Kanoute missing on international duty.

Against the Blaugrana in the cup’s second leg, Sevilla came out with a bang, and even had two legitimate Jesus Navas goals disallowed by the referee. Yet, the final outcome was enough for Jimenez’s team to advance to the next round as the tournament’s favourites.

Back to league action, Jimenez will have a real headache to nurture given that his team has failed to win for more than a month. Consecutive 2-1 losses to each of Getafe, Atletico Madrid and Racing Santander meant that Sevilla were knocked to fifth place. Now, after having consumed all of their victory champagne, the Andalucians hold a golden opportunity to get their quest back on track.

Recent form

Barcelona 1-2 Sevilla (Copa del Rey)
Tenerife 0-5 Barcelona (La Liga)
Sevilla 0-1 Barcelona (Copa del Rey)


Barcelona 1-2 Sevilla (Copa del Rey)
Sevilla 1-2 Racing Santander (La Liga)
Sevilla 0-1 Barcelona (Copa del Rey)

Key absences

Barcelona: Yaya Toure (African Cup of Nations); Seydou Keita (African Cup of Nations)

Sevilla: Luis Fabiano; Sebastien Squillaci; Didier Zokora (African Cup of Nations); Frederic Kanoute (African Cup of Nations)

Players to watch

Barcelona – Xavi: The Spanish maestro replicated his fine form against Sevilla a few days after he was named as the world’s best player by the IFFHS, toppling his series of well-taken passes with a nice goal. Also, Carles Puyol showed just why he is his league’s best defender by showing excellent positioning all night long, discipline he will be needing when he faces Sevilla for the third time in less than two weeks.

Sevilla – Andres Palop: If the goalkeeper of the year award could be given for a single match, then Palop would have won it, hands down. At 36, the custodian parked the bus against Barcelona on Wednesday, a performance that, if repeated, would definitely earn him the Man of the Match accolade. Furthermore, Jesus Navas was one of the players on show as he gave Eric Abidal and Daniel Alves a run for their money on both flanks. His place at the next World Cup seems guaranteed now.

Match prediction

Sevilla showed in their double-encounter with Los Cules that there is life beyond Spain’s big two. The team from the south might have won the cup duel, but there is no doubt that Guardiola will manage to steer the Red and Blue ship back on course in time for their weekend’s La Liga game. Should both teams replicate their form again on Saturday, expect a 1-1 ending.

You can find the best prices for this and other games at tip-ex.com!


Latest Features: