Barcelona vs Eibar: Preview & Predicted Line-up | LaLiga 2018-19
Barcelona host host Basque club, Eibar, in the 19th week of Laliga 2018-19 season on 13 January at 17:30 GMT. After losing their away leg of Copa del Rey round of 16 to Levante, Barcelona would definitely want to win this match in order to get back to winning ways.
Here's your preview from the home side's perspective.
Head-to-head with Eibar
Barcelona have won each of their last six matches against the Basque side, scoring a total of 23 goals and conceding only 4 in the process.
Last time these two sides met was in February last year at Ipurua Municipal Stadium, with the Catalan giants emerging victorious by 0-2. In the last home game against Eibar, Barcelona won 6-1, courtesy of 4 goals from Lionel Messi.
Team news and predicted line-up
In the recent match against Levante, Valverde decided to rest the likes of Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, Lionel Messi, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez. On the other side, Sergio Busquets, Arturo Vidal, Nelson Semedo, Coutinho and Ousmane Dembele featured for the whole 90 minutes.
As the players who featured got less than 72 hours to recover, there will surely be changes in the starting XI.
It is certain that ter Stegen will start in goal, behind the back four of Gerard Pique, Clement Lenglet, Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto.
Sergi Roberto, who recently came back from injury, has a higher chance of starting the match than Semedo, who featured for whole 90 minutes against Levante.
In the midfield, Ivan Rakitic will be back alongside Sergio Busquets. Although Busquets played against Levante, it is highly unlikely that Valverde will opt him out. Maybe in the second half, he could be replaced by Philippe Coutinho. As the third midfielder, Arthur will field the center of the park.
In the forward line, the duo of Lionel Messi and Suarez will certainly be back in the lineup with Ousmane Dembele, who is recently preferred over Coutinho by Valverde these days.
Points table scenario
Barcelona right now are sitting on the top of the table with a five-point difference between them and Atletico Madrid. This week, Atletico Madrid is hosting the 11th place Levante and the odds are in favor of the Madrid side. This means that Barcelona must have to win to keep a healthy lead at the top of the table.
The champions will try to inflate their lead as much as possible because once the champions league restarts, the chances of dropping points in the league increases.