La Liga Betting Barcelona to bounce back against Sevilla



Barcelona's director of football Andoni Zubizarreta travelled to New York last week to meet with manager Tito Vilanova. As a result, a seven-point plan was developed. The seven categories discussed were new signings, contract renewals, academy players, departures, temporary loans, returning players and Éric Abidal. The French defender has been given the all clear by doctors to resume with the first team following a kidney transplant and two operations relating to his tumour, with rumours circulating he may even be involved this weekend.

Unai Emery is not prioritising the Copa del Rey on Wednesday: "The idea is to play for every chance that we have, to do so at a very high-level of efficiency to have chances to win the game, so we will field a competitive team." Having received plenty of criticism in recent times, the coach is quickly repairing his reputation and has improved Sevilla in a short period.

Team news

Adriano is the only doubt for Barca, with the likes of David Villa, Thiago Alcántara, Javier Mascherano, Alexis Sánchez and Alex Song all expected to feature. Freshening the team up will be crucial, with three games in a week approaching.

Sevilla are likely to make few changes. Emir Spahić is suspended so Albert Botía will probably play against his former club at centre-back. Cicinho is fit once again, so should return at right-back.

Form

The defeat to Milan on Wednesday was a surprise, though Barça's struggles against Granada in the previous game did give some indication that an upset could be on the cards. Milan were organised, knowing when to sit deep and when to press; it wasn't about individuals, but team ethic. Few clubs are able to recreate that.

It's three wins in five now for Sevilla, after a surprising Gary Medel double helped the Andalusians beat bottom side Deportivo. They have let in nine goals in eight games - though four come against Real Madrid - as Emery looks to create a more cohesive unit.

Recent head-to-head

Los Rojiblancos held Barcelona to a rare stalemate in their last visit to the Camp Nou. They have failed to score in their last three trips to the ground, however, surrendering nine goals in the process. Blaugrana have netted in their previous 53 domestic matches, 41 of those in the league in a run stretching back an astonishing 13 months. The home team to score whilst keeping a clean sheet is 2.15.

Goalscorer betting

The casual observers have come out in their droves to decry a lack of a 'Plan B' for Barcelona, though it's their original design that needs tweaking. Pressing the opposition with greater intensity and wide players offering genuine width would not only give more goal threat, but also allow Lionel Messi more space. The Argentins scored for the 14th straight La Liga game in a row against Granada, and is 2.20 for at least two goals.

Verdict

Gary Lineker took to Twitter this week to say: "To be classed as the best ever, this Barça side need to find a way of defeating these tactics. #InterChelseaCelticMilan." That's perhaps a little unfair on assistant manager Jordi Roura: this is a different team to Pep Guardiola's trophy collectors. Sevilla are rejuvenated under Unai Emery, but may be on the end of Barcelona backlash. The Catalans are 1.20 for the win.

Bonus bet

Barcelona have scored and conceded in their last nine domestic matches. For Sevilla the same applies in the last four. Both teams to score can be found at 1.70.

Score prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Sevilla (10.00)