Following a big win over Real Valladolid at home to pick up their first three points at home this season and a chaotic end to the summer transfer window with a wild Deadline Day, Barcelona return to La Liga action when they travel to the beautiful region of Andalusia to face Sevilla at the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán on Saturday Night Fútbol.
The busiest transfer window in club history is now finally over, and as fun as it is to read and discuss rumors and signings this sport is and should always be about what happens on the pitch.
And we’re about to begin some crazy uninterrupted fun on the pitch until the World Cup, which will make club football’s calendar absolutely insane over the next two months.
There is a two-week international break at the end of this month, but Barça will play either a La Liga or Champions League match every three days until that break, and the craziness will continue until the middle of November.
The club worked extremely hard over the summer to add depth to Xavi Hernández’s squad to deal with such craziness, and he will have to show the ability to rotate between players and tactical systems to keep the team fresh and competitive in every game. But a few matches require the absolute strongest team available no matter what, and that is the case for this one.
Despite their incredibly slow start to the season, with only one point from their first three matches and five goals conceded to teams that are expected to fight against relegation, Sevilla remain one of the very best teams in Spain and Julen Lopetegui is too good a coach to not fix this mess.
Losing the starting center-back pairing of Diego Carlos and Jules Kounde is a big reason for the huge defensing struggles, and it won’t be easy to see Kounde wearing the Barça shirt so soon after his departure. But Sevilla worked hard to sign quality midfielders and attackers in the last week of the transfer window, so we might see a bit of a shift from their usual low-scoring, defensive tactics to more of an expansive, entertaining attacking side this season.
They will eventually solve their defensive issues as well, but this is a golden opportunity for an on-fire Barça attack to pounce and bring their most dangerous offensive weapons to wreak havoc at the Pizjuán. Playing at Sevilla is never, ever easy, but if there was ever a good time to play them, this is it.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Araujo, Eric, Balde; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Raphinha, Lewandowski, Dembélé
Sevilla (4-3-3): Bono; Navas, Nianzou, Fernando, Telles; Jordán, Gudelj, Torres; Lamela, Mir, Gómez