Lionel Messi

While in previous seasons, a stronger Sevilla side might have hinted at the chances of creating some sort of upset when they visit the Camp Nou to play Barcelona, the 2013 version of the side, stripped away from much of its former quality, doesn’t really stand a chance.

Barcelona haven’t always played brilliantly in the start of this season, with Atletico Madrid and Malaga showing how to slow this team down, but a lot of it had to do with dirty tactics that don’t fly each day under the referee’s eyes, not to mention Lionel Messi not always being a part of those wins.

In his two league matches this season, Messi has scored five goals, while Barcelona have picked up all nine points. With the Champions League match this week as well, there’s a good chance we’ll see some rest for players like Xavi, Messi or Neymar, although after such a long break, it’s hard to see Martino starting with anything but his strongest lineup.

Everyone is waiting for Neymar to start showing what he was signed for – not just an assist to Messi and disciplined play down the flank, but being a bit more productive, like he’s been for the national team and in the Super Cup, and start scoring some goals, placing himself alongside Messi as a huge threat whenever he dribbles into the box.

Sevilla haven’t won in their first two matches, most recently drawing 2-2 at home against Malaga with a brace from French striker Kevin Gameiro. While this team is built to play some very attractive football with Ivan Rakitic pulling the strings, the quality they need the most against Barcelona, which is strength in the midfield, seems to be missing. They play with only one defensive midfielder on most matches, and even if Carlos Bacca is benched in favor of another midfielder, it’s going to be very difficult for them to create problems for Barcelona when it comes to ball movement and creating chances.

Prediction – As always, Sevilla rely on a quick attack with efficient wingers. The problem is that their midfield, selling all of its valuable parts over the last couple of seasons, is devoid of players who can make it difficult for Barcelona to freely do what they always do, which means it should be a comfortable win for the Spanish champions.

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