In the most complex season of recent years, the Barcelona of new coach Xavi still wants to start showing something for the near future. In an unsuccessful season, to say the least, the minimum goal remains to secure a place in the Champions League for next year. In the last month, the results have been slightly better: the only real misstep by the Catalans was the knockout at the Camp Nou against Betis, a real revelation this year.
After the important home win against Elche, adjusted to 3-2, not without some difficulties, now comes the difficult test at Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán against Sevilla, second in the standings. The Andalusians have just defeated Atletico del Cholo Simeone, marking their third consecutive Liga victory after victories over Villareal and Athletic Bilbao.
Lopetegui’s team seems to be the only one able to keep up with Real Madrid, but they are still 5 points away. Interminable absences from the Blaugrana, without Memphis Depay in attack, Braitwhaite and Ansu Fati, who will only be available again at the beginning of 2022, as well as the new Spanish star Pedri. Suso and Lamela, who will still have some for a long time, for the hosts are always absent, while for the advanced department, the Moroccan El Nesyri, could recover.
Sevilla, who won their previous game 2-1 against Atlético Madrid in La Liga, will be hoping for a repeat performance.
Sevilla had 55% possession and 6 shots on goal, two of which were on target. Ivan Rakitic (7′) and Lucas Ocampos (88′) scored the goals for Sevilla. Atlético de Madrid, on the other hand, had 15 shots on goal, three of which were on target. Atlético Madrid’s goal came from Felipe (33′).
In five of the last six games in which Sevilla has played, there have been fewer than three goals per game. In terms of goal differential, rival teams scored three goals in that time frame, while Sevilla scored six. However, that trend is unlikely to continue.
Barcelona enters the game fresh off a 3-2 La Liga victory over Elche CF in their last match.
In the game, Barcelona had 74% possession and 19 shots on goal, 8 of which were on target. (16′), Gavi (19′), and Nico González (85′) scored goals for Barcelona. Elche CF, on the other hand, had five shots on goal, three of which were on target. Elche CF scored through Tete Morente (62′) and Pere Milla (63′).
The numbers speak for themselves: Barcelona has been scored against in five of their previous six games, with their opponents scoring nine goals in total. Barcelona’s defense has been a complete disaster.
Injured and suspended
Sevilla (Jesús Navas, Youssef En-Nesyri, Erik Lamela and Suso)
Barcelona (Yusuf Demir, Moussa Wagué, Sergiño Dest, Martin Braithwaite, Pedri, Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Sergi Roberto)
Head to head
We believe that Barcelona and Sevilla will battle it out in this match.
We’ll have to wait and see, but this appears to be a dead heat. As a result, we believe it will be a very competitive game, with a 1-1 score at the end of 90 minutes.
The Phoenix Suns, miraculously devoid of players stopped by COVID-19, are ready to take the field at the Staples Center to face the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season. The return of Devin Booker only made the Suns stronger. The Phoenix top scorer returned to his usual streak against the Charlotte Hornets and the team won 137-106. He finished with 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists in 26 minutes of play. He recorded a +/-32, which means the Suns beat the Hornets by 32 points when Booker was on the pitch.
The Booker-Chris Paul duo is one of the best in the NBA and is sure to be a headache for the Lakers. The Los Angeles lineup will also have to contend with the Phoenix Suns’ bevy of seasoned and aggressive support players. The Lakers, on the other hand, cannot catch their breath, with the COVID outbreak decimating nearly half of their roster, and they also had to contend with Anthony Davis’ knee injury.
Having faced and lost 115-110 to the tough Chicago Bulls, they now face the best team in the NBA in terms of records. LeBron James and his team have stayed on tiptoe against the Bulls, playing with more focus and determination, but they will have to give more against what looks like the best team in the Western Conference.
The NBA should look into why the Phoenix Suns don’t have anyone under health and safety protocols. While practically every club in the NBA has been scurrying for G-League reinforcements, Devin Booker’s return has only strengthened the Suns.
The win over the Charlotte Hornets epitomized the Phoenix Suns’ supremacy this season. On offense, Coach Monty Williams’ team was practically clockwork precise, and on defense, they were suffocating. They controlled the paint with a 60-46 scoring difference and were a key factor in the Suns’ victory.
Opposing defenders are starting to have significant difficulties with Chris Paul and Devin Booker. They’ll probably keep doing so against the LA Lakers’ haphazard and undermanned roster.
The Los Angeles Lakers, like many other teams in the NBA, have resorted to employing G-League players to keep the show on the road. In a span of days, Isaiah Thomas went from G-League to NBA starter. To be fair, he’s doing it not only because there aren’t enough warm bodies, but also because he’s been performing well.
The Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook for this reason. He’ll have to improve on his performance against the Chicago Bulls. Westbrook had a game-high 6 turnovers while finishing with 20 points, 9 rebounds, and 8 assists.
While it’s tempting to excuse errors as a result of high usage, miscues must be severely reduced. The Los Angeles Lakers committed 20 turnovers, which cost them the game. They can’t afford to make those mistakes against the Phoenix’s ruthless defense.
Phoenix Suns- Chris Paul
LA Lakers- LeBron James
The key points
For a chance to contend against the Phoenix Suns, the Los Angeles Lakers will have to show the same tenacity they showed against the Chicago Bulls.
Phoenix is currently a well-oiled machine that is far healthier than the Purple and Gold. The Phoenix Suns might go 2-0 against the Los Angeles Lakers this season, despite LeBron James’ best efforts.