It is a must-win affair for Barca, as they sit eight points adrift of Atletico in the league table heading into the crunch period of the season.
Who better than a struggling Elche side to help Ronald Koeman’s men maintain pressure on Diego Simeone’s crew?
In the meantime, avoiding defeat would be a massive success for the visitors.
Elche are in danger of the drop, level on points with 17th-placed Eibar. But they do have two games in hand on their direct relegation rivals.
Ahead of the kick-off, Barcelona have not lost in their last 13 La Liga fixtures (W10, D3). However, they come into this meeting on the back of a dismal 1-1 home draw with newly-promoted Cadiz.
Lacklustre defending has seen Barca fail to keep a clean sheet in any of their last eight matches in all competitions. It’s been almost eight years since they had a longer streak.
At the other end of the pitch, the Catalan juggernauts have scored in 33 straight La Liga games at Camp Nou. The last time they failed to get on the scoresheet in a home league match was in December 2019 against arch-rivals Real Madrid.
As ever, Lionel Messi could be the difference-maker. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored four times in his three La Liga meetings with Elche.
Elche won both of their opening two away matches of the season without conceding after earning promotion to La Liga. Subsequently, they have failed to snatch away all three points in any of their eight league trips (D3, L5).
Los Franjiverdes have never outscored Barcelona in an away La Liga encounter, losing 66.67% of their top-flight head-to-head meetings in Catalonia (GP21 – D7, L14). Elche last found the net at Camp Nou in La Liga in 1978.
Fran Escriba’s men have lost each of their three competitive trips to Barcelona this millennium by at least a three-goal margin. Against this backdrop, five of their last seven away La Liga games have ended separating the sides by under 1.5 goals (D3, L4).
Elche’s narrow 1-0 home triumph against Eibar last time out saw their disastrous 16-match winless run in La Liga come to a halt (D8, L8).
Long-term absentees Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto will not return to action this midweek. However, Koeman will have the rest of his squad fit and ready.
Under-fire Antoine Griezmann should spearhead the line following some encouraging displays in recent weeks.
Meanwhile, Jony Alamo, Fidel and Diego Gonzalez will not feature for the visitors.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergino Dest; Gerard Pique; Samuel Umtiti; Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong; Sergio Busquets; Pedri; Trincao; Lionel Messi; Antoine Griezmann.
Elche (4-4-2): Edgar Badia; Cifu; Gonzalo Verdu; Dani Calvo; Johan Mojica; Josan; Guti; Ivan Marcone; Emiliano Rigoni; Lucas Boye; Guido Carrillo.