FC Barcelona – Sevilla FC: Individual quality makes the difference in very open match (4-2)
Barcelona won the battle for the top spot in LaLiga in a game where some of the stars had to shine to see off a dangerous Sevilla side. However, an injury picked up by Lionel Messi means bad news for the next few games.
It has been an odd start to LaLiga’s season with the “big three”, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid all struggling, which allowed Sevilla to enter the ninth match day on top of the league. Under new manager Pablo Machín, the southerners had a bright start with sixteen points, beating Real Madrid in the process. Barcelona, on the other hand, had failed to win their last four LaLiga games, but were still just one win away from reclaiming the pole position.
There were no surprises in the lineups. With Samuel Umtiti and Thomas Vermaelen injured, Ernesto Valverde opted for the first eleven that brought success at Wembley with Clément Lenglet being the only new face compared to the team that drew in Valencia. Sevilla lined up with the same eleven players that faced Celta de Vigo.
Good Sevilla plan undone
Pablo Machín remained faithful to his 5-3-2 formation, that turned into a 3-4-3 in possession. Pablo Sarabia, who in the defensive phase played alongside Éver Banega and Franco Vázquez in a midfield trio, turned into an inside forward in dangerous offensive transitions as Sevilla tried to reach the final third very quickly. André Silva dropped to offer an outlet . . .