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Five talking points from Barcelona’s win over Eibar

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Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Barcelona pass a tough test

Make no mistake this was a really, really tough game for Barca. Eibar came into the match in brilliant form and started the game quickly, forcing the visitors back.

It took a moment of brilliance from Lionel Messi to set up the opener and the sending off of Fabian Orellana helped, but to win 2-0 at Eibar is an excellent result.

Once again Barca were not at their brilliant best, but they had enough to dig out the win, keep yet another clean sheet and restore confidence after two La Liga draws.

Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Will Paulinho lose his place against Chelsea?

After a bright start to his Barcelona career, Paulinho has gone off the boil in recent weeks and Sunday was another muted showing.

It’s easy to predict most of Ernesto Valverde’s strongest starting lineup but there is a place in midfield up for grabs.

It won’t go to Philippe Coutinho against Chelsea, as he’s cup-tied, and it’s unlikely to go to Ousmane Dembele either as he didn’t even get off the bench against Eibar.

Which means it looks as if it’s between Paulinho, Andres Gomes, Aleix Vidal and Paco Alcacer as to who will start alongside Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta at Stamford Bridge.

Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Iniesta starting was a surprise

With Chelsea up next, a match Coutinho will sit out, most of us expected the Brazilian to start in midfield with the 33-year-old on the bench.

However, Valverde sent out Iniesta for his 19th La Liga outing of the season and he lasted 63 minutes before he was replaced by Coutinho.

One of the reasons Coutinho was brought in during January was supposedly to allow Iniesta to rest before the big games, something that didn’t really happen on Saturday.

Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Coutinho makes a difference

However, when Coutinho did arrive he did make a difference for Barcelona and had a hand in the second goal as he started the attack with a fine cross-field pass.

Coutinho looked far more comfortable out on the left and also set up a great chance for Messi which he surprisingly fired over the bar.

The Brazilian has not had perhaps the start to life at Barcelona that his transfer fee demands, but this was a really good showing from the 25-year-old.

Eibar v Barcelona - La Liga Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Suarez looking sharp for Chelsea

It’s fair to say Luis Suarez has a bit of history with Chelsea, just ask Branislav Ivanovic, but he was on target again against Eibar with 17th La Liga goal of the season.

Interestingly, Suarez is yet to find the back of the net in the Champions League in this campaign but looks in great shape with 14 goals and five assists in his last 15 games.

Chelsea conceded eight goals in six games in the the group stages and Suarez might just fancy ending his European drought at Stamford Bridge.