My apologies for my lack of contributions over the past month - I've been rather swamped by work.
+ Firstly, Barca beat Sporting Lisbon in their own stadium 5-2, so they're now sure to top the CL group with one game to spare, which is excellent news considering when the last group stage game is - sandwiched between the games against Valencia and Real.
+ Speaking of which, Barca's next four games: Sevilla (away), Valencia (home), Real (home) and Villarreal (away). The Christmas break is at the end of this terrifying run, which is good because by then the squad will probably need it.
+ Injury news: For those of you who were wondering, Abidal
is still alive. I know I was starting to worry because of the lack of news about his progress. Apparently, he's due back soon, which is very good news at this time - Sylvinho
have done a great job filling in so far, but it's always nice to have the first-choice player for the position.Iniesta
are both on track in their recovery. Iniesta has started running again and is (according to Pep
) desperate to get back ASAP. Apparently Pep had to talk him out of rushing things. Milito on the other hand is finally running again after his long absence - it will still be a while before he's back, though.
+ Congratulations to Titi
, who made his 100th appearance in the CL against Sporting (and scored Barca's opener too).
+ Okay, let's talk Sevilla. The squad:
Goalkeepers: Valdes, Pinto
Defenders: Marquez, Pique, Puyol, Caceres, Sylvinho
Midfielders: Xavi, Keita, Gudjohnsen, Toure, Busquets
Forwards: Henry, Bojan, Eto'o, Messi
We're still not sure where they play: Hleb, Alves
+ Past results at the Sanchez Pizjuan:
04-05 Sevilla 0 - 4 Barca
05-06 Sevilla 3 - 2 Barca
06-07 Sevilla 2 - 1 Barca
07-08 Sevilla 1 - 1 Barca
+ Links: Awesome Sevilla keeper Andres Palop says nice things about Barca
, Pep wants the team to be ambitious and go for it
, and the best defence in La Liga against the best attack
(also statistically the best two defences, incidentally).
+ Both Dani
are returning to their former club, so there's been a lot of talk in the press about that. Hopefully they'll be reasonably well received, especially Dani, who has a strong emotional connection to Sevilla.
This is a big, big game. Barca don't get results at the Sanchez Pizjuan often, but it's very hard to call this game because the two teams are both playing at a high level.
Game time: Saturday 10PM local time.Visca el Barca!