Sports Desk, Oct 2 (efe-epa).- Sevilla travel to Barcelona on Sunday in this weekend’s standout LaLiga fixture, hoping to end a barren, winless run at the Camp Nou stretching back 17 league matches.
Since 2002, the Andalusians have only managed to avoid defeat in Barcelona twice, but will be hoping that they can capitalize on their hosts’ recent, highly publicized problems when they face off on Sunday night.
A turbulent summer saw a host of departures, including star forward Luis Suarez and midfielder Ivan Rakitic, who rejoined Sevilla after six years at the Camp Nou, while Arturo Vidal moved to Juventus.
Captain and talisman also tried to force a transfer away from the club after years of frustrations with the board over a lack of investment in the playing squad.
But despite the disharmony off the pitch, the players seem to be responding to new manager Ronald Koeman and the Blaugrana have started this season in scintillating form, scoring seven goals in two games without conceding once.
Young phenom Ansu Fati has rightly grabbed most of the headlines, scoring twice in the season opener against Villarreal before he bagged his third of the season with the opening goal at Celta Vigo’s Balaidos stadium in midweek.
The 17-year-old Spain international is now just one away from matching the record set by Pablo Pombo for the most goals in senior play before the age of 18.
The Guinea-Bissau-born Spanish international will turn 18 on Oct. 31.
Lionel Messi also appears to have put this summer’s clashes with the club’s board behind him – at least for now – and is in fine form, combining well with the re-integrated Philippe Coutinho who returned from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Fati in both LaLiga matches so far.
Sevilla, who won the Europa League for the fourth time by beating Inter Milan in the final over the summer, have also started the season with a 100 percent record from two games, although their wins have been more labored.
They had to fight back from a goal down against newly promoted Cadiz and only sealed the win in stoppage time, while they broke the deadlock at home to Levante last week in the 92nd minute.
Levante will host champions Real Madrid on Sunday afternoon, while Real’s city rivals Atletico will be hoping that their new star forward Luis Suarez continues his goal scoring form when they host Villarreal. EFE-EPA