La Liga Preview: Barcelona v Sevilla
By Football News
Barcelona will look to protect a six-year unbeaten league run over Sevilla when they welcome them to the Camp Nou on Saturday.
Gerardo Martino's side sit top of La Liga after the opening three games of the season, having collected nine points and conceded just two goals.
The Argentinian boss will be looking to improve that statistic even further by guiding his side to a 13 straight undefeated clash against Sevilla.
The last time that Unai Emery's side beat the champions in La Liga action was back in 2007 - when Alexander Kerzhakov and Dani Alves gave them a 2-1 triumph.
Emery has seen his side struggle so far this term after losing key players such as Alvaro Negredo, Jesus Navas and Geoffrey Kondogbia before the transfer deadline - with Sevilla yet to record a win in the league.
Two draws, against Levante and Malaga, have at least put points on the board - although Catalonia is not a happy hunting ground for Sevilla, with their winless run against Barca on their own patch extending even further, back to 2002.
They know they face a huge challenge to keep Lionel Messi, Neymar and the rest of Barcelona's star-studded team quiet on Saturday - although winger Jairo is confident they have a plan to thwart their hosts.
"Camp Nou is one of the most difficult places in the league to go to," he said. "But we’re looking forward to the game and want to get something positive.
"Possession is not something we’re going to enjoy, so we have to be well-disciplined and try to hurt them on the counter.
"They definitely have a weakness there. We’ll have to be strong in midfield and try to close down their space."
Barca are currently on a 15-game unbeaten run in the league that stretches back to their 2-1 defeat to Real Madrid in March, and they head into the game boosted by the news that captain Carles Puyol is nearing a comeback following his knee injury, while Alves and Sergio Busquets trained with the squad following the international break after recent injury problems.
Sevilla loan signing Marko Marin is expected to start for Emery's side, with Piotr Trochowski also in contention following 11 months out with a knee injury.