Sevilla v Barcelona – Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán at 21.00 live on Sky Sports 1
Sevilla suffered UEFA Super Cup heartache on Tuesday night against Real Madrid, their third successive loss in the European season curtain-raiser.
Now under the watchful eye of Jorge Sampaoli, the Andalusians overturned a 1-0 deficit to lead 2-1 in the dying embers of the encounter but Sergio Ramos’ equaliser sent the contest into extra-time. And Madrid repeated the trick a minute from the end of extra time as Dani Carvajal struck a winner.
Still, it was a promising opening performance by Los Rojiblancos. Under former chief Unai Emery, Sevilla were largely a counter-attacking side and averaged marginally less than 50% possession in each of his three full seasons at the helm.
In contrast Sampaoli, who led Chile to success at the 2015 Copa America, wants his teams to dominate their opponents with a high share of possession, clever movement and a stifling high press.
Sampaoli has already experimented with various formations and configurations and while there are still a few quirks to be ironed out, there have been positive signs that the players are adapting to the demands of their new coach.
We saw signs of the new system, style and identity favoured by Sampaoli on Tuesday whilst the southerners fine-tuned their approach across six pre-season victories. Los Rojiblancos are unlikely to be at full tilt just yet but they do look an interesting team to follow.
The Europa League champions opened their account last season with a 5-4 defeat to Barcelona in the UEFA Super Cup and we should expect another thriller between the two sides here, across two legs.
Both Teams To Score has proven a profitable formula in nine of the past 10 meetings between the pair and Sevilla should be fancied to find the net against a rusty Barca defence who shipped four goals in a Wembley friendly against Liverpool.
Luis Enrique and company have learned that they need a stronger supporting cast as they look to conquer yet another La Liga title, taking note of a precarious few weeks at the end of last season which almost saw them gift the trophy to one of the chasing Madrid clubs.
Lucas Digne and Samuel Umtiti are the defensive reinforcements, while Denis Suarez and Andre Gomes add quality midfield options that were lacking at times last term, leaving the notorious trio of Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi and Neymar to find the goals.
Since 2012/13 these two teams have averaged 4.40 goals-per-game across their 10 encounters so supporting Over 3 Goals looks just the ticket at 1.97 on Sunday night.
Expect the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan to be rocking in the sweltering Seville summer, and with plenty of attacking talent on show, a good game should be in store.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 3 Goals at 1.97
Prices correct at time of writing.
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