Defending champions, Barcelona, make the trip to Sevilla for the first leg of their Copa del Rey quarter-final on Wednesday night. The Blaugrana had to dig deep to get the better of Levante in the last-16 and are expected to have an even harder time against the Andalusian outfit over the next two legs.
Here are three things to look forward to as Sevilla host Barcelona in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.
3. A Point to Prove for Sevilla
Sevilla have enjoyed an overall productive season, so far. They are currently placed fouth in La Liga after 20 rounds of fixtures and now have the opportunity to knock the holders out of the Copa del Rey.
Pablo Machin’s side are coming into the match on the back of a 2-0 defeat to Real Madrid and would do their best not to allow Barcelona the same pleasure. They have always been formidable at home and we expect nothing less, tonight.
2. No Messi
Barcelona have left their skipper, Lionel Messi, out of the squad for their trip to Sevilla. Even in Saturday’s 3-1 win over Leganes, it was Messi’s intervention which ultimately earned Barcelona all three points. So, leaving him out for such an important cup fixture seems like a big gamble.
His absence, however, could lead to Kevin-Prince Boateng’s debut, which would provide him with the perfect opportunity to announce his arrival.
1. A Tough Test for Favourites
Ernesto Valverde’s Barcelona aren’t the most aesthetic side in the world, but they sure know how to grind out results. The most successful team in the competition lifted their 30th title, last term, and seem on course for their 31st.
The visitors will look to start the game on the front foot and put pressure on Sevilla. Gerard Pique and Clement Lenglet will be pushed to their limits, and they must make sure to bring their ‘A’ game.