Hassan Chamas

What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Sevilla (4th; 60 points) vs Barcelona (1st; 93 points)
When: Saturday 8th May, 2010, at 21:00 CET
Where: Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, Seville, Spain

Flying High

An impressive victory against Racing Santander at El Sardinero, coupled with Real Madrid’s vital win over Real Mallorca, meant that Sevilla have kept ahead of Mallorca in the vital last Champions League spot. With just a couple of fixtures to go in the Spanish league season, Sevilla will be looking to grab all three points – and repay Real Madrid’s favour – when they host leaders Barcelona.

Greatly depleted in defence, Sevilla couldn’t be less concerned with their injury news, as the Andalucians have amassed a whopping 11 goals in their last three league matches. However, Antonio Alvarez’s back-four has let in five goals over those games too; something that they will surely need to work on as they face Europe’s most feared attacking force.

The Last Hurdle

Although the league season does not end for another week, Barcelona could all but secure the league title with a win this Saturday over Sevilla, as they host bottom-table side Real Valladolid in the daunting surroundings of the Camp Nou in La Liga’s ultimate fixture. With Real Madrid beating Mallorca and back to a point behind the Blaugrana, pundits believe that this weekend could prove to be the ending to this crazy league season.

As Barca easily dispatched Tenerife last Tuesday, the only negative note was Gerard Pique’s knock, one that could possibly rule him out from the trip down south to Seville. The towering defender has been a pillar all year long in the heart of reigning champions’ body, and should he fail to show up, then in-form defender Gabriel Milito will be ready to partner skipper Carles Puyol in the heart of defence.

Recent form

Getafe 4-3 Sevilla (25/04; La Liga)
Sevilla 3-1 Atletico Madrid (02/05; La Liga)
Racing Santander 1-5 Sevilla (05/05; La Liga)

Barcelona 1-0 Internazionale (28/04; Champions League)
Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona (01/05; La Liga)
Barcelona 4-1 Tenerife (04/05; La Liga)

Key absences

Sevilla: Tom de Mul; Sebastien Squillaci; Ivan Dragutinovic; Sergio Sanchez; Luis Fabiano; Fernando Navarro; Lautaro Acosta; Aldo Duscher; Cala

Barcelona: Andres Iniesta; Eric Abidal; Gerard Pique (doubt)

Players to watch

Sevilla – Alvaro Negredo: Sevilla’s record signing has been in startling form lately, scoring yet again in the destruction of Racing Santander. The match will also be of special importance to Negredo due to his former affiliation with Real Madrid. A good showing could earn him an inclusion in Vicente del Bosque’s World Cup squad too.

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: Messi’s 31 goals this season make the Argentine just three shy of Ronaldo’s – the Brazilian one – jaw dropping record of 34, back when “The Phenomenon” was plying his trade at the Camp Nou in the 1996/97 season. With two matches to go this season, expect anything from the best player in the world.

Match Prediction

A tough match for Sevilla no doubt, as the guests will be playing for the league title. It will need an immense effort from the Rojiblancos to stun the sextuple champions, but their recent form simply cannot go unnoticed, and they will certainly not go down without a fight. Expect goals from such a match, with the probable final score being a 2-2 draw.


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