If there is ever a game that personifies Daivd vs Goliath, it's Barcelona vs Eibar. To put it into context, the population of Einar could fit into the Camp Nou. Four times. So when Sunday evening rolled around, almost everyone was expecting a mauling. Fans were chatting in their seats, players were hugging their wives and children and everyone was expectant of an easy win. Take the three points and thank you very much. Everyone expect the Eibar team.
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It was the away team who started the brightest. Refusing to adopt the tactic taken by almost all teams who visit the Camp Nou of sitting deep and limiting Barcelona's chances. No, José Luis Mendilibar's men wanted to attack by looking to get forward and using their pace to hurt Barcelona and it took just ten minutes for them to get their first ever goal at Barça.
The defence of Barcelona has been a much talked about subject this season due to it's porousness. Teams know that they can get a goal and will look to put the back four under pressure. The goal Barcelona did concede, typified their ongoing problems. Defensive error after defensive error led to Eibar going in front.
Marc Bartra lost the ball upfield which meant he was out of position as Eibar broke. Keko got a tame shot away and Cluadio Bravo should've done better in his save. Yes he kept it out but he palmed into the path of Borja Bastón who calmly slotted into an empty net. Eibar took the lead and Barcelona's run without a league clean sheet stretched to seven.
The fans were audibly shocked by the goal and a slight air of nervousness floated around the ground. Luis Enrique was barking orders on the touchline, looking to rally his troops and get back into this game.
The home team were growing into the game. A Neymar corner was headed wide by Bartra and Sergio Busquets was consistently picking the ball up in midfield and looking to create danger. It was through Busi that Barcelona eventually got the equaliser.
With Javier Mascherano also in midfield, Busquets was pushed forward into a Xavi-like role. He was performing this role well with his great passing and just after 20 minutes, Busquets dinked a beautifully weighted pall into the path of Sandro. The youngster, who has struggled so far this season, got off a great cross on the stretched volley. The ball flew past the keeper and both Neymar and Luis Suárez were waiting to pounce. It was the latter who powered the header into the open goal to celebrate his year anniversary at the club with a goal.
Not content with just being on level terms, Barcelona continued to probe for the goal that would take them ahead. Busquets was having more and more influence on the play and he again found Sandro but this time the forward couldn't convert the opportunity.
Despite Barcelona's goal, Eibar weren't dead and buried. Again, a Barcelona defender, Dani Alves, lost possession and Eibar quickly got the ball towards goal. Keko went round Bravo but couldn't quite get it on target from a tight angle.
The sides did go in at half time level with the visitors the happier of the two teams.
That happiness was short lived though as just three minutes after the interval, Barcelona got their second. Neymar won the ball back high up the field and dribbled his way into the box. He slid the ball into the path of Suárez who took a touch then buried it into the bottom left corner for his and Barça's second.
With Barcelona ahead and a midweek game on the horizon, Enrique elected to rest some legs just before the hour mark. Both Bartra and Sandro left the field to be replaced by Jeremy Mathieu and Munir.
With that midweek game in mind and having played last midweek, the tempo dropped as Barcelona slipped into a natural passing game. Both teams were still creating chances but neither had any real sight of goal for a the majority of the second half.
The clock was running down but there was still just a goal in it and it was far from over. Barcelona's worries only increased as they were reduced to ten men on the 84th minute. Now if you're going to get sent off, make it something worthwhile. Say a last man tackle that prevents them from scoring not, as Mascherano did, for muttering something under your breath to the referee. The official wasn't having any of it and quickly sent the Argentine down the tunnel.
The final minutes were going to be very tense but Suárez again dug Barcelona out of a hole. Similar to Neymar last week, Suárez's individual brilliance won this game and on the 85th minute he got his hat-trick. Neymar found Suárez who chested the ball down before rifling the ball past Asier Riesgo.
The game was won and Barcelona saw out the final minutes with a score of 3-1. They secured the three points but Enrique won't be happy with the difficulty they had in a game many expected them to walk away with.
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