14 January 2019
La Liga leaders Barcelona take on a tough Eibar side at Camp Nou this weekend looking to bounce back from midweek’s Copa del Rey failure.
Midweek’s shock 2-1 defeat to Levante in Copa del Rey has confirmed Barca feel uncomfortable without Leo Messi. But, the Argentinean returns to action this weekend looking to help his team secure their sixth consecutive La Liga victory. The hosts now heavily rely on the fact they’ve outplayed Eibar in all of their eight H2H meetings since the visitors joined the top flight. La Liga leaders hold the second-best home record (W6, D2, L1), but they are the only team in the Spanish top tier to score over 1.5 goals per match eight times in nine home clashes so far. Ernesto Valverde seems to be on his way of solving Blaugrana’s defensive crisis, as four of the Catalans’ previous five LL wins saw them keeping a clean sheet.
Meanwhile, the visitors come into this meeting after playing out five successive draws across two domestic competitions, hoping they can bring a four-game road winless run to an end (D2, L2). However, beating the Catalan giants will be everything but simple, considering Eibar’s road displays this season (W1, D3, L4). With just five goals scored on eight LL road trips, the Azulgranas hold the worst attacking record in the Spanish top tier. The Gunsmiths have managed to hit the net on just three road encounters this campaign, which puts them on a par with Leganes and Rayo Vallecano. Also, they’ve failed to keep a clean away from home sheet seven times this term, conceding over 1.5 goals per match three times though.
Provisional line-up – Barcelona:
Gk: Marc-Andre ter Stegen Defense: Jordi Alba – Pique – Lenglet – Sergi Roberto Midfield: Rakitic – Sergio Busquets – Arthur Melo Attack: Leo Messi – Luis Suarez – Ousmane Dembele
Provisional line-up – Eibar:
Gk: Asier Riesgo Defense: Cucurella – Cote – Ivan Ramis – Arbilla Midfield: Joan Jordan – Ruben Pena – Papakouli Diop – Orellana Attack: Charles – Sergi Enrich
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