The Sanchez Pizjuan has always been a challenge for Barcelona
Barcelona travel to the Sanchez Pizjuan to take on Sevilla in a makeup game after the initial fixture was postponed following the number of South American players missing due to World Cup qualifiers.
Playing Sevilla in their home stadium always seems to present problems for the Catalans. They were held scoreless in the league fixture last season and lost the first leg 2-0 in the Copa del Rey. Fortunately for them, they managed a comeback in the second leg at the Camp Nou.
Both teams head into the fixture a different team from the one from the season before.
The biggest absence is, of course, that of Lionel Messi.
His departure has had a ripple effect as Barcelona find themselves in eighth place in La Liga. Despite the abysmal performance in the first half of the season, should Barcelona win, and depending on the results of some other matches, they could end the year in the top four and in a Champions League spot.
Sevilla are not going to make it easy as they sit in second place, only six points behind Real Madrid. Should they win, they could see themselves just 3 points back of first place.
“Sevilla are ready to be the LaLiga champions, they almost were last year, they can go three behind the leaders with a win,” Xavi said.
“They are candidates to win any competition in which they play. Sevilla are a great, great team, a spectacular team, but there are three points on offer, we are improving and growing.”
Barcelona remain riddled with injuries as Sergiño Dest and Yusuf Demir will miss the match.
But if there has been any bright spots for the club it is the emergence, and importance, of the young, La Masia players. Gavi, Nico, Abde and Ferran Jutgla have all contributed to the team recently and stepped up when some of the veterans faltered.
They will be called to do so again and perhaps their youthfulness means they don’t let the occasion get the better of them.
Sevilla could also be missing a few players themselves. However, they are a different team when it comes to playing at home rather than on the road. They have had their fair share of wins at the Sanchez Pizjuan against Barcelona.
With both sides having something to play for, it should be an entertaining match. One side is still trying to find its identity with a new manager whereas the other is eyeing a serious run at a league title and is more than willing to take advantage of a rebuilding side.