FC Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 2-2 away in Mallorca tonight when they host Sergio Ramos and Seville.
We can’t deny that the game in Mallorca was extremely frustrating, but to play as lethargically as we did and to come away with a point having trailed for much of the game, you have to take the positives.
Seville are enjoying a little bit of a resurgence following their early-season struggles. They’re riding into Barcelona high on confidence following a 5-1 win against Almeria, helping them to three games unbeaten in La Liga. But those games have come against Las Palmas, Osasuna and Almeria, so tonight will be a much tougher test.
So what do they need to do to walk away with all three points?
1) Cut out the mistakes in the FC Barcelona defence
Defensively Barcelona was the best team in La Liga last year, conceding just 20 goals across 38 games, which was 13 better than the next best (Atletico Madrid).
We never expected them to repeat that, but the early signs are disappointing from an unsettled backline. So far Barca has conceded 10 goals in 7 games.
Both goals they conceded against Mallorca were avoidable with Xavi calling them silly mistakes. They also conceded 2 to Celta Vigo and 3 to Villareal.
The Barcelona backline is extremely attacking with Balde and Cancelo, but they all need to remember that their primary job is to prevent goals.
Kounde will almost certainly be back in tonight, and he’s been by far Barcelona’s best defender.
2) Oriol Romeu needs to be better
Many people raised their eyebrows when Barcelona brought Romeu back into the fold, and the initial return was positive.
Romeu looked energised and he did the job he was employed to do, most notably breaking up play and handing the ball to the more creative players in the team.
However, he’s played a lot of minutes and against Mallorca, he looked a touch slower than we’ve come to expect.
Maybe that’s evidence that he needs to be rotated more, or maybe it’s evidence that playing next to Frenkie de Jong makes everyone look a lot better than they are.
De Jong is out for over a month, and Xavi needs more from Romeu if Barcelona want to keep pace with rivals Real Madrid and early surprise Girona.
3) Service into Lewandowski
Xavi chose to rest Lewandowski against Mallorca with Seville and Porto on the horizon. That backfired as Barcelona looked tepid in attack for much of the game.
Ferran Torres has had a very good start to the year, but he seems more comfortable, and certainly more productive coming off the bench.
Barcelona are always going to dominate possession, it’s the style of football they play, certainly at home. But possession control is one thing, generating chances is another.
Lewandowski started slowly this year, but he looks like the striker of old recently and it’s up to the Barcelona midfield of Romeu, Gundogan and Gavi to open up opportunities for him.
Without Frenkie de Jong and Pedri, the creativity has taken a hit. We need to ensure that the service to Lewandowski is on point tonight.