Sevilla – Barcelona: Messi, once again, the villain of the show at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán (2-4)
Pablo Machín’s tactical creativity only earned its credit in the early stages of this encounter as the little Argentine’s talents eventually prevailed. Sevilla’s true pantomime villain showcased why he is still undoubtedly the best there is.
Tactical analysis and match report by Peter M.
Just three days had passed since Sevilla’s 2-0 victory over SS Lazio, that sent them cruising through into the UEFA Europa League Round of Sixteen. Although he would have liked to have field a full-strength eleven for this clash as well, Machín’s hand was forced and so in came some changes.
Franco Vázquez, Roque Mesa, Sergio Escudero and André Silva all dropped out with Marko Rog, Éver Banega, Maximilian Wöber and Quincy Promes being the ones to step in.
With a day’s more rest, Ernesto Valverde could afford to name a side nearly identical to the one that started Barcelona’s 0-0 draw in Lyon. However, instead of a 4-3-3 formation, this setup appeared to be much more like a 4-4-2, with Samuel Umtiti make a long-awaited return to the defense in place of Clément Lenglet, Arturo Vidal coming in for Sergi Roberto in midfield and Philippe Coutinho getting the nod over Ousmane Dembélé.
Match prediction, standings and implications going into the weekend.
Machín’s surprise . . .