The best way to summarize the mid-week European adventures of the competitors in today’s marquee Liga matchup is as the divergent fortunes of each team coping with a key injury. In Barca’s case, Iniesta’s absence against City really showed in a 3-1 loss, as they seemed to be uncertain both playing out of the back and when pressing high without their veteran’s calming presence. (I haven’t seen a lot Barca this year, but I gather this has been true to some degree with Iniesta as well; still, they seemed especially directionless vs. City.) Meanwhile, Sevilla fans collectively braced for a huge let-down after losing Nasri, who’s been a revelation and key reason for Sevilla’s success, to injury. But I think just about everyone was shocked by the way that both Kranevitter and Ganso (!) stepped up in their absence, and Sevilla’s 4 goal exhibition was as impressive a result as they’ve had this season.
Now, obviously Dinamo and City weren’t equivalent competition. And neither will Sevilla find the going as easy vs. Barca as they did at mid-week. But neither has Barca been invincible of late; . I wouldn’t bet a single penny on a Sevilla victory today, but I’m pretty convinced that Sampaoli’s high press and pace combined with Barca’s tendency to press high and possess deep without always having a sense of what to do will create a wonderful spectacle to watch; this should be a really entertaining match, and I won’t be surprised if it’s one of the highlights of the season.
We’re in for a treat, so let’s all gather here later today to enjoy! Vamos!