FC Barcelona (2nd, 52pts) vs Eibar (16th, 24pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2019-20 La Liga, Matchday 25
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Jordi Alba, Luis Suárez, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Eibar Outs & Doubts: Iván Ramis, Kike García, Charles (out), Pedro Bigas (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, February 15, 2020, 4pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 3pm GMT (UK), 10am ET, 7am PT (USA), 8.30pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: César Soto Grado
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Not Available (UK & India), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), others
Following a good home win over Getafe and a full week of rest and training in sunny Catalonia, Barcelona are back to action in La Liga to face Eibar at the Greatest Stadium on Earth. Real Madrid play later on Saturday so Barça have a chance to be leaders for at least a couple of hours with a win, and they should absolutely be winning this one.
Unlike a lot of people who don’t watch La Liga and assume every team that’s not from Madrid or Seville or València isn’t a tough opponent, Barça fans who know the game knew that Eibar were always a tricky side to face, with a well-drilled 4-4-2 formation and lots of counter-attacking threat. They’re no longer that this season, however: Eibar are in the middle of a relegation fight with very little offensive weapons and a defense a lot less organized than it was over the last three years.
For the first time in forever treating Eibar at home like an easy game is actually reasonable, and with a trip to Napoli in the Champions League coming in just a few days Barça cannot afford a slip-up and a dip in confidence by not getting a routine win here. Quique Setién has had the last two full weeks of training after a busy start and his team is evolving with every performance, and this is a chance to make a statement that they’re getting even better.
Let’s play well and win this one, boys. Show your strength. Oh, and maybe Martin Braithwaite makes his debut for Barça! In 2020! That’s fun!
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Firpo; Vidal, De Jong, Arthur; Messi, Griezmann, Ansu Fati
Eibar (4-3-3): Dmitrovic; Arbilla, Burgos, Bigas, Cote; Escalante, Expósito, Pape Diop; León, Enrich, Orellana
I’m feeling really good about this one: 4-0 to the home team. Braithwaite goal? Nah. Sorry, I still can’t believe he’s playing for us, it’ll be a while before I’m betting on him scoring for us.