Barcelona come back from a successful trip in Belarus in the UEFA Champions League to host surprise starters Eibar on Sunday.
The Catalans will have the opportunity to move into second place at worst with a victory in this fixture as the top two kick off their match in Vigo 26 hours before. Celta Vigo, Real Madrid and Barcelona are all locked on 18 points after eight games.
Eibar start the weekend in seventh position with 13 points and only Atlético Madrid handing them a defeat so far this season. However, José Luis Mendilibar’s side have only won one of their last six.
Barcelona will be without key man Lionel Messi for a few more weeks but Neymar has really stepped up to the plate, scoring four of their five goals versus Rayo Vallecano over the weekend. Luis Suárez is also a lethal threat, whilst Ivan Rakitić netted a brace at BATE Borisov on Tuesday night.
Borja González has been one of the star’s for this weekend’s visitors, having scored five goals in his four league starts in the 4-5-1 formation that they deploy. Winger Saúl Berjón is arguably their best playmaker.
Luis Enrique’s side are heavily expected to take three points from this fixture and their participation in Europe midweek should not have too much of an ill-effect on them given the long break they’ve had since.
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Barcelona vs Eibar Team News
Barcelona team news
Lionel Messi will be out for a few more weeks yet but Barcelona still have plenty of attacking talent to overcome the smaller teams in La Liga at the very least.
Andrés Iniesta is a casualty in midfield. As is the talented youngster Rafinha.
Thomas Vermaelen is a constant absentee in defence.
Eibar team news
Former Aston Villa left-back Antonio Luna will miss the trip to Camp Nou through injury, as does experienced goalkeeper Jaime Jiménez, but he’s not their first choice when fit anyway.
Barcelona vs Eibar possible starting line-ups
Barcelona: Claudio Bravo; Dani Alves, Gerard Piqué, Jérémy Mathieu, Jordi Alba; Sergio Busquets, Ivan Rakitić, Sergi Roberto; Sandro, Luis Suárez, Neymar
Eibar: Asier Riesgo; Ander Capa, Mauro dos Santos, Iván Ramis, David Juncà; Dani García, Gonzalo Escalante, Saúl Berjón, Adrián González, Takashi Inui; Borja González
Barcelona vs Eibar: Key Stats
0 – Eibar have not scored a single goal in their two previous La Liga matches versus Barcelona.
6 – 22-year-old midfield Gonzalo Escalante has collected six yellow cards in seen La Liga appearances so far this season.
7 – All seven goals conceded by Eibar this season have come after half-time.
Prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Eibar