Preview: Sevilla v Barcelona
Copa del Rey winners Sevilla and La Liga champions Barcelona have the chance to win the first silverware of the season when they meet in the Spanish Super Cup on Sunday in Morocco.
Spanish Super Cup
Date: 12/13 August 2018
Kick-off: 21:00 local time/03:00 HKT (13 August)
Venue: Stade Ibn Batouta (Tangier)
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro
Assistants: Juan Yuste, Abraham Álvarez
Fourth official: Juan Martínez
TEAM MATCHES WIN DRAW LOSS
Sevilla 56 11 11 34
Barcelona 56 34 11 11
Morning training! ⚽💪
🔵🔴 #ForçaBarça pic.twitter.com/OQ6iY6rNwv
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) August 10, 2018
Sevilla 0-5 Barcelona 21/04/18 (La Liga)
Barca goalscorers: L. Suárez (14′, 40) L. Messi (31′), A. Iniesta (52′), P. Coutinho (69′)
Players to watch
Steven Nzonzi made no secret of the fact he was looking for a move abroad to another team with Arsenal expressing an interest in his services. However, with the closing of the transfer window in England, the 29-year-old France star has remained with Sevilla. If he features in the clash on Sunday, he may be worth watching to see if he remains motivated for Los Hispalenses.
Following the disappointment of Argentina’s performance at the 2018 World Cup, Lionel Messi’s form may come under scrutiny in 2018/19. Messi made little impact for his national team at the global showpiece and there may be questions being asked about whether his powers are starting to decline. With that said, a big display from the diminutive genius could make a major statement about his intentions this season.
Team form and manager quotes
Sevilla come into the contest in solid form having seen off Hungaria’s Újpest FC 7-1 in the second qualifying round of the Europa League. In addition, they hold a 1-0 advantage in the first leg of the third qualifying round against Lithuania’s FK Žalgiris.
However, the outfit from the autonomous community of Andalusia were clobbered 5-0 the last time they met Barca, and seemingly will be the underdogs in Morocco.
Nonetheless, manager Pablo Machín is hopeful his side can compete. He said: “The moment is what it is, the supercopa is always played in the preseason and we have to compete in the best way against one of the best teams in the world.”
Meanwhile, Blaugrana lost their last two matches coming into the clash in the International Champions Cup to Barcelona and AC Milan. With that said, pre-season form is hardly ever a gauge of the campaign to come especially now that the Spanish champions are at full strength after the return of their World Cup contingent.
As such, Ernesto Valverde says his side have plenty of options and believes new signings such as Arturo Vidal from Bayern Munich can have an impact. Clément Lenglet, Malcom and Arthur are some other new faces in the squad.
He told reporters: “He has a lot of presence on the field and I think that will be very good for us. He’s a warrior. Our team has space for many different types of players.”
Sevilla’s new signings such as Aleix Vidal, Roque Mesa, Ibrahim Amadou and Tomas Vaclik could feature in the encounter, following their arrival in the transfer window.
For Barca, the match marks the first official game since the departure of the legendary Andres Iniesta. Meanwhile, Valverde virtually has a full strength squad available with the return of his World Cup stars. Yet, Ivan Rakitić and Lenglet are doubts.