Barcelona are one of the best teams in world football, and are habituated to winning major trophies. They won the La Liga last season, and will be keen to defend their title, with teams like Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid being serious contenders. But before they start the domestic competition, Barcelona have a huge game as they face Sevilla in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan Stadium in Seville on Sunday.
Barcelona come into this game with their heads held high after clinching the Jaon Gamper Trophy in their last match against Italian club Sampdoria. The Spanish giants won 3-2. But Barcelona have not been brilliant defensively in their last few pre-season games. They lost 4-0 to Liverpool, and failed to keep a clean sheet in their wins against Leicester and Celtic as well.
Hence, Barcelona need to play all-round football against Sevilla to defeat them in the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup. Sevilla might have been below par in the La Liga last time around, but they have already looked a quality side. They even came close to defeating Real Madrid in the UEFA Super Cup, but lost in extra time few days ago. One can expect a close match between the two Spanish clubs.
Barcelona, in no way, will take this Super Cup match lightly after their embarrassing loss to Athletic Bilbao 5-1 (aggregate score) last time around. Barcelona were expected to win the tie then, and are also favourite to defeat Sevilla this time around. Manager Luis Enrique is keen to win this title, like any other trophies, which his team challenges for.
"You have to go for every trophy from day one. In the two years I've been [Barça coach], I've never had to stop training to request more intensity. I'm delighted with the attitude of all my players, the new and less new - this is what helps this team win titles. There are things to improve in all aspects, [the players] don't have the desired pace [at the moment] but that's not an excuse," said Enrique.
With players like Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez in their ranks, Barcelona will hope that their forwards do the trick. But it is not going to be any easy with Sevilla's new coach Jorge Sampaolli being a good tactician, and he will have plans to tackle Barcelona's forwards. Defending alone cannot be Sevilla's option, as they will have to take the game to Barcelona at one point or the other.
Sevilla will need to play an attacking game, and try to hit them on the counter. Barcelona play possession-based football, which will allow Sevilla to work into empty spaces in the counter.
"We must try to fight Barcelona's possession and try to harm them. Tomorrow we still want to have the ball. We will be challenge and neutralise such important players as Luis Suarez and Leo Messi. We must move the fans for them to respond," Sampaolli said.
Though this is the first leg of the Spanish Super Cup, both the teams will be keen to have a huge advantage when they square off in the second leg in a few days time.
Spanish Super Cup (Supercopa) 2016: Sevilla vs Barcelona first leg is scheduled to kick off at 9 p.m. CET (1:30 a.m. IST, 4 p.m. EST) on Aug. 14.
Sevilla vs Barcelona first leg TV and live streaming information
India: TV: Sony Six/HD. Live Streaming: Sonyliv.
Spain: TeleCinco Espana, TV3
UK and Ireland: TV: Sky Sports 1/HD. Live streaming: Sky Go.
USA: TV: ESPN and ESPN Deportes. Live Streaming: Watch ESPN.
Australia: TV: SBS One Australia
Africa: TV: Supersport 3 Africa