After their disappointing 2-2 draw against Mallorca earlier this week, Barca was back in action at the Montjuic to face off against a classic La Liga foe.
Sevilla isn’t at their usual standards this season — they sit in the bottom area of the La Liga table — but they do possess some notable experienced players that can cause Barca some trouble.
So onward we go to see how Barca fared against Sevilla.
The first half was one of….boredom for Barca.
Per usual, they retained possession and carefully surveyed opposition defense to pick out the best available action. But the problem was that they lacked a bit of control, last third technical quality, control, and were wasteful in front of goal.
Too many times did Barca creep into Sevilla’s final third, only to lose possession due to a pass bad, a bad first touch, or an offensive action that led to absolutely nothing. It was frustrating if we’re being honest, since there was so much optimism surrounding the attacking based lineup Xavi sent out.
But it simply wasn’t working, which again, was frustrating.
There was some danger in the 22nd minute, when a brilliant run by Joao Cancelo led to a pretty point blank chance for Joao Felix. But just like the previous actions in the first half, Felix’s shot ended in disappointment as it rang off the under portion of the crossbar.
It’s a chance Felix should score and probably will score 95% of the time. Unluckily for Barca, this one landed in the 5% margin of error, as the score remained 0-0.
There wasn’t much more action in the half, aside from a concerning injury to Raphinha, which forced him off the pitch before halftime. It looked to be a hamstring injury, which Barca tends to worry about a great deal.
We’ll see how long it’ll keep him out, but otherwise an extra blow of disappointment to add to a disappointing first half.
Also, there was one more chance after Raphinha’s injury. Fermin Lopez — who replaced Raphinha — found himself with a glorious chance on goal after a wonderful pick-out from Lamine Yamal. But Lopez’s shot was saved, as it didn’t have much venom on it.
As we went to the second half, it was clear Barca needed to be better. There were too many errors being made, all of which singlehandedly led to Barca looking static and wasteful in the attack.
Would these mistakes be cleaned up for the second half? Let’s find out.
Once the second half began, Barca began to ramp up the intensity, while adding more control and technical quality in the attack.
There were less mental errors, more sustained pressure on Sevilla’s defensive structure, as well as more defined control whenever Barca didn decide to go forward.
However, despite this ongoing pressure, there wasn’t any change on the scoreboard at all. Despite that, Barca kept on pushing and pushing, until they found the goal they very much deserved.
Sergio Ramos, Barca’s unexpected hero
The action started with Ferran Torres, who secured the ball on the right flank. As he searched for a passing option, he suddenly found a run made by Lamine Yamal.
Torres delivered a great cross pitch ball to Yamal, who then attempted to square a header for any other Barca player to control and potentially score with. Instead though, the ball bounced off Sergio Ramos and into the back of the net.
It wasn’t a goal from Yamal, but it’s good to see him get that sort of moment.
After this goal, Barca went into ultra defensive mode. There wasn’t much sustained attacking play, more so Barca trying to defend their lead and secure a much needed set of 3 points.
And that they did, securing a 1-0 win and 3 points to temporarily go back atop La Liga.
This was a game full of wasted chances.
Barca were very much the better team attacking wise — had an xG of 2.53, according to FotMob — but they weren’t able to score their own goal from open play. These type of games can happen from time to time, but they aren’t any less frustrating when they do happen.
Here’s to Barca not having any more of these games.
Last words here, great, great game from Gavi, who was completely dominant up and down the pitch. Kudos to Fermin Lopez as well, who was very impressive after he came on for the injured Raphinha.
Barca’s next match
Barca’s next match will be next Wednesday against Porto. It’ll be away and it’ll be Barca’s second group stage match of the Champions league.
See you all then!