Barcelona will get ready to play against Eibar at the Camp Nou on Sunday to keep their slim chances of winning the La Liga title alive.
The Spanish league’s defending champions will be preparing to take on Eibar in a crucial match that can determine who wins the title for this season. Barcelona will fight tooth and nail to retain the trophy and not lose it to their arch-rivals Real Madrid.
The Madrid side will need just one point from their trip to Malaga to claim the trophy, after their 4-1 win over Celta Vigo on Wednesday,
Eibar are in the middle of an incosistent form, but have had their most successful season in the top flight this time since being promoted in 2014, and the Basque side are guaranteed to secure a spot in the top half of the table.
Even if they lose against the Catalonian giants, Eibar will be happy to claim the tenth spot for themselves and get ready for the upcoming season.
Team News and Tactics
Barcelona are awaiting the fitness results of Gerard Pique, while Javier Mascherano remains doubtful, meaning that Barcelona B defender Marlon might get another start at the back.
The youngster impressed greatly in their previous match, and it will be a good chance for him to play a match as important as this. Meanwhile, Sergi Roberto is likely to return to the starting XI and take the place of Lucas Digne at right-back.
The league is not over yet, and Barcelona still have a fairly good chance of defending the trophy. If they manage to do that, it will be the third consecutive La Liga title for them under Luis Enrique.
Barcelona will head into the contest with full confidence in their celebrated trio – Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez. Getting a couple of early goals should boost the team’s confidence and establish control over the visitors.
However, they need to be extremely cautious as well since this is a rather unpredictable Eibar side, and any upsets at this point can prove to be extremely costly for Enrique’s men.
Predicted lineup: Ter Stegen; Sergi Roberto, Marlon, Umtiti, Alba, Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta, Neymar, Suarez, Messi
As for the visitors, Eibar will have to do without Fran Rico, Antonio Luna and Nano for their big game against Barcelona. They will also miss the presence of an injured Takashi Inui, but standout performers Sergi Enrich and Pedro Leon are likely to feature.
Although Eibar have been comparatively brilliant this season, they have been lacking inconsistency. It seems like they have figured out how to play well but are struggling to cope with the pace of the La Liga.
This game against Barcelona will be the perfect opportunity for them to show that they are capable of delivering outstanding performances even at such a crucial point. Restricting MSN – Messi, Neymar, Suarez – will probably be the biggest challenge for the squad.
They will also come into this game knowing well that there have been even worse upsets before, and will try to find a solid consistency within the team to deliver an on-par performance against the La Liga defending champions.
Predicted lineup: Riesgo; Capa, Lejeune, Galvez, Junca, Escalante, Garcia, Leon, Gonzalez, Bebe, Enrich
- Barcelona could win their 25th league title and their third league championship in a row.
- Luis Enrique could become the third Barcelona manager to win the La Liga title in three consecutive seasons, after Pep Guardiola and Johan Cruyff.
- Barcelona have won each of their five games against Eibar in La Liga, scoring 16 goals and conceding only just one.
- Barcelona have scored 112 goals in this La Liga season and need three more to equal their best record in a single campaign (115 in season 2012/13).
- Lionel Messi is the top-scorer this season in the Big Five European Leagues alongside Edinson Cavani (35).
Player to watch out for: Lionel Messi
The midfield has been a problem area for Luis Enrique, because of which Barcelona have not fully utilised the splendid form showcased by Messi this season.
The 29-year-old had to drop to deeper positions and yet managed to score a good number of goals for the side. He strings together a series of attacks for the club and also takes those opportunities to net a goal or two.
In fact, a total haul of 35 goals is proof of his potency in the final third. Considering the gravity of this match, Messi is likely to be in full power tomorrow, looking to snatch a goal or two within the first half and turn up the pressure on the visitors.
The end result is likely to be a 2-1 victory for Barcelona.
Everything said and done, Barcelona are defending champions for a reason. Also, the MSN trio has proven to be a lethal combination, since one can make up for what the others lack. Also, Barcelona works well as a team and have been strong throughout the season.
Eibar’s attack has been decent, which is why they are likely to score a goal. However, against Barcelona’s defence, there’s not much the Eibar strikers can do. Similarly, it will be a great test for their defenders to see if they can restrict MSN from scoring.