Following a hard-fought comeback victory away to Getafe, Barcelona return to La Liga action with a match at Camp Nou against Eibar on Tuesday night. The Basque Country club have been in the Spain top flight for a while and are very much established as a La Liga team built on hard work and defensive organization.
Barça have very much dominated this fixture since Eibar earned promotion in 2014, winning all six meetings and scoring 20 goals with just 5 conceded. Ernesto Valverde has also enjoyed success against Eibar as Athletic Bilbao manager, with four wins and just one loss in six encounters with the Armeros.
The Blaugrana come into Tuesday’s match as clear favorites and will be hoping to make it five wins out of their first five league matches, which could have a huge impact on the title race later. The performance against Getafe was poor and the team looked tired and uninspired after three tough matches in seven days last week, so Valverde will probably make some rotations this time in hopes of getting fresher bodies and a better showing from the team.
MATCH INFO, TV/STREAMING
Date/Time: Tuesday, September 19, 2017, 10pm local time, 9pm (UK & Nigeria), 4pm ET, 1pm PT (USA), 1:30am IST (India, Wednesday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia
Television: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Sky Sports Mix (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India)
Online streaming: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Sky GO (UK), FuboTV (7-day free trial, click here to sign up)
(Listings via LiveSoccerTV)
Valverde rested Nélson Semedo on Saturday, so the Portuguese will surely return to the team against Eibar. Samuel Umtiti has been left out of the squad to get a rest, so Javier Mascherano will come to the defense alongside Gerard Piqué. Jordi Alba has played a lot of minutes this season and after resting one full-back on Saturday, Valverde will probably rest the other against Eibar.
In midfield, we could get a lot of changes, maybe in all three positions. Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andrés Iniesta started every game since the international break and could get a day off here, and that opens the door for the three players that had a big impact against Getafe: Sergi Roberto, Paulinho and Denis Suarez were directly involved in the two winning goals, and it might be good idea to see the three together in midfield. With André Gomes out of the squad, Roberto will be the holding midfielder if Busquets is indeed rested, with Paulinho and Denis in front of Sergi to supply the attack.
Up front, Gerard Deulofeu will surely start in place of Ousmane Dembélé with Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez completing the front three. Messi and Suárez combined for 14 goals against Eibar over the years and will be looking to improve their record. The problem is Suárez is in horrible form, so maybe the Uruguayan is dropped and Aleix Vidal comes in on the right wing, with Deulofeu on the left and Messi at False Nine.
But Valverde hasn’t rotated at all this season, so maybe he’ll start the same eleven from the Getafe game with the only change being forced (Deulofeu for Dembélé). It’s important to note Valverde didn’t rotate much at Bilbao, and maybe Umtiti is the only one getting a day off after all.
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Mascherano, Digne; Paulinho, Roberto, Denis; Deulofeu, Messi, Suárez
Dmitrovic; Capa, Oliveira, Gálvez, José Ángel; Peña, Jordán, Dani García, Inui; Kike, Enrich
The game against Getafe was a warning that this team is very much a work in progress, but the team is back home and we’ll get a good win against a team we usually play pretty well against: 3-0 Barça.