SUNDAY night sees Sevilla take on Barcelona in the Spanish Super Cup. Mark O'Haire (@MarkOHaire) highlights the best betting opportunities.
Sevilla v Barcelona | Sunday 12th August 2018, 21:00 | Sky Sports
The 2018/19 Spanish football season gets underway on Sunday night as Sevilla tackle Barcelona in the Super Cup from Tangier in Morocco.
It’s the first time in the competition’s history that the match has been played abroad with authorities also switching up the format of the competition and so doing away with the previous two-legged tie in place of a one-off showdown.
Understandably, Barcelona have been chalked up as short 4/7 (BetBright) favourites to claim top honours in 90 minutes following their excellent domestic exploits last season. The Catalans notched 99 goals en-route to their La Liga title, losing just once along the way, before also clinching the Copa del Rey crown.
Head coach Ernesto Valverde remains in the dugout despite the Blaugrana’s Champions League failings and he’ll be keen to kick-off the campaign with a positive performance. The Barca boss has a full squad to select from but new signing Arturo Vidal is not expected to be involved from the off.
However, Brazilian duo Arthur and Malcom could both make their debuts and centre-half Clement Lenglet may also be given his first taste of football with Barcelona against his former employers. Meanwhile, Rafinha is back with the Blaugrana following a loan spell with Inter Milan.
So there’s plenty of competition in the Barcelona ranks and they’ll expect to see off Sevilla’s challenge with room to spare. The Catalans have claimed eight victories from their past nine encounters against the Andalusians and are unbeaten in 22 meetings since their contest in the 2010 Super Cup.
New dawn for Sevilla
Sevilla were eviscerated 5-0 in April’s Copa del Rey final at the Wanda Metropolitano and endured a modest campaign by their usual lofty standards. Los Rojiblancos finished seventh and struggled away from their Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan stadium, losing 11 of their 19 La Liga road trips.
Aleix Vidal could make his second Sevilla debut against his former club, following his return to Andalucia this summer, while Sergi Gomez, Roque Mesa and arrivals from France, Ibrahim Amadou and Joris Gnagnon may all feature as the underdogs begin a new era under Pablo Machin’s tutorship.
The 43-year-old boss took charge after leading newly-promoted Girona to a top-half finish in their first La Liga campaign and is expected to remain married to his preferred 3-5-2 system. The approach caused plenty of problems to Barca, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid last term but whether he’s able to implement his style successfully so soon remains to be seen.
Sevilla have recorded three wins in the preliminary rounds of the Europa League already so should, in theory, be tuned in. However, the most recent of preliminary took place late on Thursday evening meaning the Andalusians have had precious little recovery time ahead of the trip to Tangier.
Fifteen of the past 17 showdowns between Sevilla and Barcelona have delivered for Over 2.5 Goals backers and so backing the 21/20 from Ladbrokes on a Barca win, as well as Over 2.5 Goals, holds plenty of appeal.
Sevilla v Barcelona – Barcelona to win and Over 2.5 Goals (21/20 Ladbrokes)