Barcelona 4-2 Sevilla: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Barca Go Top of La Liga With Comfortable Win

Barcelona ended their four match winless run in La Liga with an emphatic 4-2 win over Sevilla at the Nou Camp.

The home side got off to a lightning quick start after some classy build up play from the Catalans set up Philippe Coutinho, who bent his effort into the top corner in superb fashion to give Barcelona the lead. Their advantage was soon doubled after Lionel Messi was set through on goal by Luis Suarez, with the Argentine slotting the ball past Tomas Vaclik in the Sevilla goal.
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?The home fans were then given a reason to be concerned when ?Messi went down under a hefty challenge – seemingly landing awkwardly on his arm – and was forced off just shy of the hour mark with his arm heavily wrapped up, with the injury dampening the mood around the stadium.


Barcelona began the second period soaking up some Sevilla pressure, however the home side took full control after Suarez was brought down in the box by the keeper, and duly sent him the wrong way with the resulting penalty to give his side a 3-0 lead.

Despite a late Pablo Sanabria consolation goal for the visitors, Ivan Rakitic got in on the act with a fine volley which found the bottom corner to seal the win, which meant Luis Muriel’s fine strike for Sevilla to make it 4-2 soon afterwards counted for nothing. Here is a breakdown of the night’s events:


BARCELONA

Key Talking Point
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Barcelona got their first win in five games, however the key talking point from the game was that of Messi’s injury. Just five minutes after putting his side 2-0 up with a trademark Messi finish, the Argentine landed awkwardly on his arm following a challenge with Franco Vazquez and was visibly in a lot of pain.

Messi came back on and tried to continue, however just minutes later was forced off with the pain seemingly too much and with his arm heavily wrapped up.

It was a sight Barcelona fans would’ve been dreading, and the attention now turns to their huge clash with ?Real Madrid on Sunday and whether or not Messi will be fit enough to play with the extent to his injury yet to be revealed.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: ter Stegen (8); Semedo (7), Pique (8), Lengley (7), Alba (7); Rakitic (7), Busquets (6), Arthur (7); Messi (8), Suarez (9), Coutinho (8).

Substitutes: Dembele (7), Roberto (6), Munir (6).


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?STAR MAN – After Messi was taken off injured, it was Suarez who took centre stage. He set up his side’s second goal and then won Barcelona a valuable penalty after soaking up a period of pressure. He stepped up and duly slotted home to get himself on the scoresheet.

He was the focal point of the Catalan’s attacking play and would even arguably be annoyed at himself for not getting more goals on the night. Regardless, it was all in all a good night at the office for the Uruguayan.

WORST PLAYER – He didn’t necessarily have a bad game however on a night where many players shone, Sergio Busquets never really made an impact on the game. He quietly went about his business as he usually does, keeping possession and giving the ball to Barca’s playmakers when needed.

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B

It says a lot about how well Barcelona played if Busquets was their worst player on the night, and he certainly won’t be disheartened by his performance on the night.


SEVILLA

Key Talking Point

Sevilla came into the game having won all of their last four La Liga games – including an impressive 3-0 win over Real Madrid – and would’ve been confident of causing an upset heading into the game. However, any hopes of pulling that off were ended very early in the game.

Sevilla FC v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga

They found themselves 2-0 down after just 12 minutes and despite creating a number of chances throughout the game whilst also salvaging two goals back, they’d ultimately left themselves too much to do as Barca ran out comfortable winners on the night.
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?Sevilla have now dropped down a place to third in La Liga and will need to put the result behind them as they look to keep the pressure up on those teams around them despite the disappointing result.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Vaclik (5); Kjaer (6), Carrico (5), Gomez (5); Navas (6), Banega (6), Vazquez (6), Arana (6); Sarabia (7), Silva (7), Ben Yedder (6).

Substitutes: Mercado (6), Mesa (6), Muriel (7).


STAR MAN – Although the scoreline doesn’t read pleasant viewing for the Sevilla faithful, they were still able to create a number of chances throughout the game, with many of those coming from Andre Silva.

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He would’ve felt unlucky not to score, and had it not been for an in form Marc-Andre ter Stegen may well have found himself on the scoresheet. He can take at least some heart from a night which Sevilla fans will want to forget.

WORST PLAYER – It was a night to forget for Daniel Carrico who just couldn’t handle Barcelona’s attacking threat. In fairness to him, he isn’t the first and certainly won’t be the last defender to feel the wrath of Barca’s star-studded attacking lineup this season, however he never looked comfortable dealing with them.

Sevilla FC v RC Celta de Vigo - La Liga

None of the Sevilla defenders covered themselves in glory on the night, however Carrico in particular will be disappointed with his display having been on such good form heading into the game.


Looking Ahead 

Barcelona leapfrogged Sevilla with the win and have therefore jumped to the top of La Liga with the win, which will provided them with a lot of confidence heading into their clash with Inter in the Champions League before the biggest match on the La Liga calendar when they face a struggling Real Madrid side at the Nou Camp on Sunday.

As for Sevilla they failed to win for just the second time in their last seven matches in all competitions, and will therefore look to bounce back with a win when they face La Liga’s bottom side SD Huesca on Sunday.

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Ernesto Valverde Reveals He Has Spoken to Arturo Vidal Regarding Player’s Social Media Posts

?Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde says he has dealt with Arturo Vidal after the Chilean took to social media to voice his unhappiness at being benched for Barcelona’s games against Valencia and Tottenham Hotspur. 

According to ?Sport, Vidal denied that the posts were about his lack of action for Barcelona. Addressing the matter, his manager Valverde said that it had been dealt with, but refused to disclose exactly what was said between the pair. 

“We have the idea to solve the problems we have inside the dressing room, not outside, and we will keep things that way,” he said in a press conference on Friday.

“Yes, I have spoken with Arturo Vidal, of course, but I won’t detail about what. We try to deal with things this way so there’s not so much drama generated, like there has been in the last few weeks.” 

The ?Barcelona midfielder posted two messages on Instagram, conveying his frustration at his lack of playing time since his arrival in the summer from Bayern Munich. However, after the conversation with Valverde, ?Vidal appears to have deleted the posts.

The veteran Chilean international has struggled to establish himself in the starting XI, with ?Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Philippe Coutinho being Valverde’s preferred midfield combination so far this season. 

Vidal’s own slow start to the season has also seen him be usurped in the pecking order by Arthur, who has impressed since his move from Grêmio.

Valencia CF v FC Barcelona - La Liga

As a result, it is probable that Vidal will once again be on the bench for Barcelona’s game at home to Sevilla in La Liga, which gets underway tonight at 19:45 BST. 

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‘I See Many Similar Things’: Barcelona Legend Xavi Responds to Comparisons Between Himself & Arthur

?Legendary former Spain and Barcelona midfielder Xavi has hailed his old club’s summer signing Arthur, admitting he sees similarities between the Brazilian and himself.

The Spaniard, who joined Qatari side Al Sadd in 2015, won 14 domestic titles with the Catalans over the course of a trophy-laden, 17-year spell, which began in 1998, having progressed from Barcelona’s fabled academy.

He also won four UEFA Champions League trophies, and earned international success lifting the 2010 FIFA World Cup and two European Championships, in 2008 and 2012.

Tottenham Hotspur v FC Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Group B

Xavi, who played a pivotal role in the heart of Barcelona’s midfield for so many years has tipped Arthur – who has impressed in his first few months in La Liga – to be his natural successor in ‘number six’ role at the Camp Nou.

As quoted by ?Globo Esporte, Xavi told Argentine Radio, Villa Trinidad: “Yes, I see many similar things [between me and Arthur], as he gets his head up. He is a very confident player, who always gives an out-ball to his teammates, receives and stands well.

“He is a player that we call in ?Barcelona, as someone with Barça DNA. He has all the ability to succeed. It depends on him, his mentality, confidence, which is the most important quality for a player.”

The 38-year-old also mentioned that if Arthur can continue his fine run of form and play more often, he can help add further silverware at Barcelona.

He continued: “If they give him games, if [Ernesto] Valverde keeps giving him minutes, I think we are facing a player who can score an era in Barça.”

Xavi also declared his support for former teammate Lionel Messi, who he feels has been unfairly criticised by many including Argentine legend Diego Maradona – ?who claimed the Barcelona number 10 isn’t a natural ‘leader’.

Barcelona v Real Sociedad - La Liga

“Messi seems to me an incredible leader both on the pitch and off the pitch. Maybe he’s a quieter leader in the locker room, but he’s an absolute leader, he always wants the ball, he offers himself, he has personality. He never hid,” Xavi said.

“He seems to me to be an overachiever with absolute leadership, and at this point I disagree with Maradona. But there are opinions of all tastes.”

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‘Fake News’: Neymar Dismisses Barcelona Rumours as PSG Manager Plays Down Transfer Talk

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar has brandished rumours linking him with a return to Barcelona as “fake news” on social media.

The Brazil international has been at the heart of a media frenzy in recent weeks, as reports from Spain suggested that Neymar wanted to leave the French capital after falling into the shadow of teenage wonderkid Kylian Mbappé.

However, Neymar himself moved to silence any talk of him leaving the Parc des Princes by brandishing stories from outlets Mundo Deportivo and Diario AS as “fake news” in an Instagram video which has since been shared across social media.


Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde has fueled speculation even further following his comments about Neymar’s future during a recent press conference. 

It’s not even in a transfer period at the moment, so I can’t talk about a player and it’s not something that’d happen in the next month or so anyway,” Valverde told reporters. “Anything can happen in football, but it’s hard, unlikely. I don’t know, we’ll see.”

Paris Saint-Germain’s Thomas Tuchel also weighed in on the recent rumours which have tipped Neymar to return to the Camp Nou.

However, while Valverde failed to play down the speculation, Tuchel didn’t mince his words and insisted that it is “useless” to discuss Neymar’s rumoured move back to Catalonia.

It is October. I cannot speak with Neymar about what he will be doing in 2019,” Tuchel said, quoted by ESPN’s Jonathan Johnson. “He has a contract, so it is useless us speaking about his future.”

Paris Saint Germain v Olympique Lyon - French League 1

Neymar has a contract in Paris until 2022, something which firmly has PSG in the driving seat over the rumoured transfer.

However, player power is so prevalent in modern football – especially with the biggest stars – that it is not inconceivable that the Brazilian would be able to force his way back to La Liga next summer.

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Barcelona vs Sevilla Preview: How to Watch, Form, Previous Encounter, Key Battle, Team News & More

?Barcelona host Sevilla in a top of the table clash at Camp Nou in La Liga on Sunday. The hosts’ title defence has begun with a relative stutter this season and Barcelona must rectify their poor recent run of league form against a high flying Sevilla side this weekend.

The visitors pose the strongest threat to the Catalan giants at present, with Pablo Machin’s side a point clear of Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona at the summit of the table heading into Saturday’s match.


The reigning champions have not won in their last four La Liga outings, with their stronger showings coming in the Champions League so far this season, and they’ll be looking to haul their title defence back on track in what is a vital clash at Camp Nou this weekend.

Sevilla, meanwhile, have enjoyed a flying start to their campaign which has seen them deliver greater consistency and conviction than La Liga’s ‘big three’ sides in ?Barcelona and both Madrid clubs, with Los Hispalenses sitting above all three at the top of the table.

Saturday’s encounter provides the truest test yet in the campaign so far of both Sevilla’s true title credentials and of Barcelona’s resolve and ability to defend their crown.

?When? Saturday 20 October @ 7.45pm (BST)?
?Where? ?Camp Nou
?How Can I Watch It? ?Eleven Sports

Form

Barcelona’s recent form in La Liga has largely summed up the champions’ season so far, with two draws and one defeat from their last three domestic outings a poor return from a side of the Catalans’ quality and stature.

A shock 2-1 defeat away to Leganes, in which Valverde’s side threw away a 1-0 lead, was followed by consecutive 1-1 draws at home to Athletic Bilbao and away to Valencia last time out.

Barca’s star men largely went missing on each occasion, though ?Lionel Messi’s equalising strike against Valencia built on the attacking masterclass the Argentine produced to put ?Tottenham to the sword in a 4-2 win in the Champions League four days earlier.


Sevilla, meanwhile, have fared far better in their recent run of La Liga matches, though less successfully in Europe. A stunning 3-0 win over European champions ?Real Madrid was the defining moment of Machin’s side’s season so far and is most reflective of their current position.

That home triumph was followed by another comfortable win, as Sevilla secured a 3-1 win away to Eibar. A 2-1 defeat away to FC Krasnodar in the Europa League threatened to put a dampener on proceedings, but a 2-1 win at home to Celta Vigo three days later strengthened their position at the top of the La Liga table.


Previous Encounter

Saturday’s trip to the Camp Nou serves up Sevilla’s toughest test so far this season and threatens to halt their table topping charge in La Liga. However, the previous encounter between the two sides should provide an encouraging reminder that Machin’s side certainly have the beating of Barcelona on their day.


Goals from Franco Vazquez and Luis Muriel either side of half time thrust the champions elect firmly on the back foot.

Valverde’s side required a dramatic late fightback to save Barca’s blushes, as quick-fire strikes from star duo ?Luis Suarez and Messi in the last two minutes of the match narrowly secured a point for either side in a 2-2 draw.


Key Battle

Sergio Busquets vs Ever Banega

With clashes typically tight between these two sides, the mere point which separates Barcelona from Sevilla in the La Liga table heading into this weekend’s clash suggests that Saturday’s encounter will be no different.

As both sides will require a foothold to assert their authority over the opposition, the midfield battle will be key in deciding which side is able to seize control of the game on Saturday.

For Barcelona, Sergio Busquets is very much the hub of Valverde’s team, and the Spaniard will look to assert the kind of influence on the match from his deep-lying midfield base which has become the Barca icon’s trademark.


On the opposing side, Sevilla’s Ever Banega will look to perform a similar role for the visitors, though the Argentine’s talismanic role for his side tends to see the playmaker venture further forward with more free-roaming advances into the opposition’s half.

Busquets and Banega are undoubtedly the key men in pulling the strings for their respective sides and Saturday’s match could ultimately be decided by the prevailing of either man in assuming the greater and more decisive creative influence to guide their side to victory.


Team News

Barcelona head into Saturday’s match with a number of defensive issues and the absence of a star man to contend with.

Centre backs Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen continue to miss out with hamstring and knee injuries respectively, while right back ?Sergi Roberto remains absent.


In another blow to Valverde’s selection plans, star striker Luis Suarez is missing from action with a knee problem which forced the 31-year-old to miss Uruguay’s international commitments during the break.

Sevilla, meanwhile, have similar defensive concerns of their own, with centre back Gabriel Mercado still recovering from a fractured arm and Sergio Escudero absent with an elbow problem. Ibrahim Amadou is also set to miss out due to a similar issue.


Prediction

Saturday’s match is a big test and a great occasion for both sides as La Liga’s top two meet, and the pressure to win is undoubtedly of greater weight on Barcelona.

The champions have endured real struggles in recent domestic outings and will be conscious of the need to return to winning ways to get their title defence back on track, while Sevilla’s recent run of great league form will likely see the visitors buoyed all the more by Barca’s problems.

Both sides have the capacity to stamp an authority on this match, as Barcelona’s collective of individual stars and Sevilla’s team ethic and determination should provide a relatively even and closely-fought encounter.

Prediction: Barcelona 2-2 Sevilla

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