SD Eibar (14th, 9pts) vs FC Barcelona (2nd, 16pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 9
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ousmane Dembélé, Gerard Piqué (out), Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo (doubt)
Eibar Outs & Doubts: Rober Correa, Iván Ramis, Gonzalo Escalante (out)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 19, 2019, 1pm CET (Barcelona), 12pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 7am ET, 4am PT (USA), 4.30pm IST (India)
Venue: Estadio Municipal de Ipurúa, Eibar, Basque Coutry, Spain
Referee: Mario Melero López
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Premier Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Not Available (India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Premier Player (UK), Facebook Live (India), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following the second brutal two-week international break of the season, La Liga champions Barcelona return to action with a league visit to the Ipurúa to face Eibar in what promises to be a tough match for the Catalans. Barça’s last game was a great win against Sevilla at Camp Nou, their fourth straight victory in all competitions, and now it’s about extending the winning streak and getting better and better.
Unfortunately the squad continues to suffer with injuries and suspensions, and Ernesto Valverde still can’t settle into a constant starting lineup or a regular rotation. That lack of continuity will have some effect on the performances until the problems end, so the goal is to be as solid as possible and rely on the best players to be at their best.
Now that next week’s El Clásico is officially not happening they’ll have an unexpected weekend off which means Valverde can play very similar teams against Eibar and Slavia Prague in the Champions League and not rotate too much, and hopefully the result is six straight wins and a better team.
Eibar away is one of the toughest dates of the calendar for any La Liga team, but Barça should be good enough to win. Let’s hope they do. This should be fun.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Todibo, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Griezmann
Eibar (4-2-3-1): Dmitrovic; De Blasis, Oliveira, Arbilla, Cote; Álvarez, Diop; Orellana, Expósito, Inui; García
I’m fascinated by how the Clásico postponement affects Barça’s mindset in this one. Now that they can’t take first place next week, they have to go into “let’s not drop dumb points” mode, and this that kind of game for them: 3-1 Barça.