Sevilla has a tough task on their hands on March 18 when they host Barcelona at Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán in a Spanish Primera division showdown. If second-place Barcelona has any chance of closing the 10 point gap between themselves and league-leading Real Madrid they have to win games like this. If not, they’ll lose their league crown to Madrid.
Barcelona sits in second place with 60 points from 18 wins, six draws and two losses. Sevilla is in 11th place in the league table with 33 points from eight wins, nine draws and nine losses and are seven points out of a European spot for next season. The man Sevilla needs to mark closely of course is Lionel Messi, who has 30 league goals on the season so far. He’s also scored 50 in all competitions with 16 of them coming in his last six matches.
When it comes to injuries, defender Eric Abidal reportedly needs a liver transplant so don’t expect to see the 32-year-old Frenchman in the line-up until next season. However, Alexis Sanchez may be ready to play or at least get a spot on the bench if winger Cristian Tello starts again. In addition, Thiago Alcantara could be back from injury and Gerard Pique should be able to play after publicly criticizing some recent refereeing performances in Barcelona matches.
For Sevilla, it looks like forwards Jesus Navas and Freddie Kanoute are questionable for the game and they’ll be sorely missed if they can’t play. Goalkeeper Javi Varas will be counted upon to stand on his head like he did in the 0-0 draw with Barcelona earlier in the season. He saved a Lionel Messi penalty in that match too.
It’s doubtful that Sevilla will be able to overtake all of the teams ahead of them to earn a Champions League for next season, but every point helps. They’ve had had a bit of luck against Barcelona over the last few years. Their last two meetings ended in draws, 0-0 this season in Barcelona and 1-1 last season in Sevilla. The previous three games to that saw Sevilla beat Barcelona 3-1 and suffer heavy defeats by scores of 4-0 and 5-0. Sevilla goes into this game with two wins, a draw and two losses in their past five games while Barcelona has won their past five.
Barcelona has won three, lost one and drawn one in their past five away games and Sevilla has won just once in their past five at home with a loss and two draws look for this to be a hard-fought game with Sevilla putting on a good show for their home fans. But at the end of the day we’re likely to see Barcelona go home with all three points after winning by just a goal.
Sportsbook William Hill shows the latest odds of a Sevilla victory at 7/1 with a Barcelona win at 4/11 and a draw at 15/4.