|Our La Liga scribes preview for the 2015/16 Copa Del Rey final between Barcelona and Sevilla.|
Barcelona vs Sevilla | Sunday 22 May 2016 | Vicente Calderon Stadium | 21:30
La Liga champions Barcelona will take on Europa League champions Sevilla in the Copa del Rey final at the Vicente Calderon Stadium on Sunday.
Meetings between Barcelona and Sevilla rarely disappoint in terms of entertainment. Last year’s European Super Cup ended in a thrilling nine-goal game which the Catalans won in extra-time thanks to a strike from Pedro Rodriguez. The last time the two met in a Spanish Super Cup did not lack goals either, as the two-legged tie ended 5-3 in Barca’s favour.
Will La Liga champions Barca add to their record tally of 27 cup wins or will Sevilla add another trophy to go along with their Europa League trophies?
To Win (80 Mins)
Barcelona 1/4 | Draw 47/10 | Sevilla 72/10
Barcelona clinched the La Liga title after a hat-trick from Luis Suarez gave them the three points they needed against Granada to overcome rivals Real Madrid in a captivating title race. That was Barca’s 24th La Liga title, their sixth in the last eight seasons. The Catalans won 29 from their 38 games with four draws and five defeats. They scored a remarkable 112 goals and conceded 29 goals – only Atletico Madrid conceded fewer (18).
Based on the control of the football, with triangles and lightning-fast combinations, their way of playing is praised all over the world. Style points, however, only count when they result in wins, which Barcelona has managed consistently over the last decade.
The Catalans are poised to continue their successful run as they boast the best-attacking trio in the world: Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, and Neymar. Sevilla are the last hurdle for Barcelona to clear before defending their Copa del Rey title. If the Blaugrana can clinch the double by winning the Copa del Rey, Luis Enrique will have equalled Pep Guardiola's record of seven titles in two seasons.
Suarez claimed the European Golden Shoe award on the back of scoring 40 goals in La Liga this season. Suarez’s tally beats that of closest challenger Zlatan Ibrahimovic who scored 38 goals for Paris Saint-Germain. The Golden Shoe caps off a brilliant year for the Uruguayan marksman. He has scored more than 50 goals in all competitions this season, resulting in a La Liga triumph for Barcelona. He scored 14 goals over the last five games as Barcelona went on a run of 24 goals scored without conceding in a relentless charge for the title. Add another 16 assists to that and you've got a stunning campaign, and one which has rightly established Suarez as the best out-and-out forward in world football right now. Without their No. 9's pretty unique mix of lethal finishing and fierce competitiveness, they would not have won this season's title.
Sevilla got their week off to an ideal start by defeating Liverpool 3-1 in the Europa League Final.
Having gone into the half-time break a goal down, Sevilla showed a huge amount of grit to turn the tie on its head and claim European honours.
Unai Emery’s side finished seventh in La Liga which is disappointing with the quality they possess. It’s fair to say success in the knockout tournaments has hampered their domestic position, although few will be concerned with the standings should they pick up any silverware.
Had they played every single match at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan then a Champions League berth would've been assured, with an impressive 14 wins from 19 matches. But if the table was only judged on away games, then Sevilla would have remarkably been relegated. It's a startling contrast between their home and away performances, which is difficult to explain and must have some sort of mental ramifications. Victories on home turf over Real Madrid and Barcelona have been counteracted by defeats to Sporting Gijon and Granada on the road.
The domestic season has petered out disappointingly, although it's perhaps to be expected when trying to compete in a variety of competitions. Sevilla recorded just one win in their last eight league games and that was in the derby against Real Betis.
Kevin Gameiro has enjoyed a superb season with 16 league goals in only 22 starts and a further eight goals in Europe. The Frenchman is a natural finisher who is excellent at linking-up with his wingers, as he displays superb hold-up play and provides for his teammates with a range of key passes.
Verdict: Barcelona Win + Both Teams To Score (12/10)
Barcelona have won seven of their last 10 meetings with Sevilla, losing just once – at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan this season. The La Liga champions are too short at 1/4, so back them to Win + Both Teams To Score at 12/10. That bet has come through in Barca’s last six victories over Los Rojiblancos.