Sevilla vs Barcelona Preview

Copa del Rey final

Barcelona will be looking to secure a historic and record-breaking eighth domestic double this Saturday when they travel to the Spanish capital and the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium to take on Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final. Barca will be competing in their 40th Copa del Rey final, extending their record of 39 which they previously shared with rivals Real Madrid, having won 29 titles prior, a competition record. 

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Ernesto Valverde’s men will be competing in their fifth consecutive final, a feat never accomplished before. They are also looking to join Real Madrid and Athletic Bilbao on winning four titles in a row. Sevilla, on the other hand, have competed in nine finals and they won five of those – their last final was against Barcelona in 2016, where they lost 2-0 on extra-time.

For both teams, this represents the end of the road for the 2017/18 season. Both sides had different priorities in the campaign, Barcelona were dreaming of a another treble, while Sevilla were hoping to finish in the top four and return to the UEFA Champions League, having reached the quarter-finals for the first time ever. Neither side’s dream nor ambitions quite came to fruition, but throughout it all, both teams enjoyed the ride and their supporters will no doubt come in numbers and look back to what has been a fondly season.

Spanish Copa del Rey Final 
Saturday 21 April 
Wanda Metropolitano 
(21:30)

To Win (90 mins)
Sevilla 52/10
Draw 34/10
Barcelona 9/20

Sevilla 

Sevilla reached the final after beating Leganes 3-1 on aggregate in the semi-finals. They won 2-0 in the second leg, having drawn the first leg 1-1. This will be a rematch of the 2016 final, Barcelona will be heavy favourites for this contest, but Sevilla have the  capacity to overcome them if their approach and performance is right on the day.

The last time these sides met, Vincenzo Montella’s men showed they are not afraid of this Barcelona team when they took the game to them and led 2-0 after 50 minutes, but were unfortunate to give it away in the final two minutes of the game.

Sevilla will have to do the work without star striker Wissam Ben Yedder, after he was sent off in the match against Villarreal last weekend. The Sevillistas are winless in their last six games with three draws and three defeats. They were knocked out of the Champions League quarter-final last week by German champions Bayern Munich, 2-1 on aggregate.

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Barcelona

Barcelona will have a chance to win their fourth consecutive Copa del Rey, having overcome Valencia in the semi-final. Valverde’s first season at the club has been nothing short of superb, and with the Catalan club leading La Liga by 11 points, they remain in the hunt for their eighth domestic double. 

The Blaugrana have dominated this tournament in recent years, reaching the final five times in a row, and 40 times in their history, winning 29 of them including their last three. 

Barcelona have recorded their longest unbeaten run in La Liga and are a few points from be crowned champions. But still deep inside there’s an incomplete feeling, like tasteless soup after their Champions League failure. Demands in this club are high and if they don’t win this tournament, their unbeaten run in the league will come to nothing as this won’t be regarded as one of their best seasons.

Probable line-ups:

Sevilla: 4-2-3-1
Soria; Navas, Mercado, Lenglet, Escudero; N’Zonzi, Banega; Sarabia, Vazquez, Correa; Muriel.

Barcelona: 4-3-3
Cillessen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Paulinho, Busquests, Iniesta; Coutinho, Suarez, Messi.

Prediction: Barcelona 9/20

Barcelona fought back courageously and scored two goals in the last two minutes to earn a 2-2 draw against Sevilla the last time these sides met. Prior to that, the Catalans had won seven games on the bounce against the Sevillistas and I expect them to continue with their good form here.

Written by Banele Pikwa

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