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Feb 22, 2020 at 3pm UK
Barcelona
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Preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Eibar, including team news and predicted lineups.

Barcelona will be looking for their fourth La Liga win in succession when they welcome struggling Eibar to Camp Nou on Saturday afternoon.

The Spanish champions are now just one point behind league leaders Real Madrid in the table, while Eibar currently occupy 16th spot, just three points clear of the relegation zone.


Match preview

Barca announced on Thursday that they had completed the signing of Martin Braithwaite from Leganes, with the Dane penning a contract at Camp Nou until June 2024. Having been granted the opportunity to make an emergency signing following Ousmane Dembele's injury, Braithwaite has arrived in Catalonia.

The 28-year-old could actually make his debut for his new club against Eibar, although it seems more likely that the former Middlesbrough attacker will be on the bench for the league contest.

Quique Setien's side have had their problems in recent weeks but have posted three straight wins in the league since a 2-0 loss at Valencia. Indeed, they overcame Levante and Real Betis before picking up three much-needed points at home to high-flying Getafe last time out.

The fact that Real Madrid dropped points against Celta Vigo last weekend means that the gap from first to second is now just a single point, and the two Clasico rivals will meet at the Bernabeu on March 1.

Barca will also travel to Napoli for the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie on Tuesday night, and Setien will hope that Lionel Messi will continue to put in star performances despite the fact that the Argentine has not scored in any of his last four league outings.

Eibar have performed above expectations in La Liga over the last three campaigns, posting 10th, ninth and 12th in their last three seasons at this level of football. The Basque side are very much in a relegation battle at this stage, though, with only three points separating them from the bottom three.

The Gunsmiths have not actually triumphed in the league since beating Atletico Madrid 2-0 on January 18, drawing against Celta Vigo and Real Betis in addition to losing at Alaves last time out.

Jose Luis Mendilibar's side have only picked up one league victory on their travels this season, meanwhile, and have shipped 13 goals in their last three visits to Barca in Spain's top flight.

The visitors should be well rested, though, as they have not actually played since February 7. Indeed, their clash with Real Sociedad last weekend was postponed due to "high levels of chemical compounds detected in the air" around the Ipurua following a fire the day before.

Barcelona La Liga form: DWLWWW
Barcelona form (all competitions): LWWLWW

Eibar La Liga form: WLWDDL
Eibar form (all competitions): WWLDDL


Team News

Barca will again be without the services of key forwards Luis Suarez and Dembele through injury, while first-choice left-back Jordi Alba is still on the sidelines with a groin complaint.

Braithwaite could make his debut having joined on Thursday, although it seems more likely that the Dane will be named on the bench for this weekend's clash.

Junior Firpo is in line to feature at left-back, while Nelson Semedo and Arturo Vidal could also start as Setien is expected to have one eye on the clash with Napoli on Tuesday night.

Clement Lenglet is also available for the hosts having served a one-game domestic ban.

As for Eibar, experienced forward Charles will miss out through suspension, while Pedro Bigas, Kike Garcia and Ivan Ramis are on the treatment table for the Basque outfit.

Sergi Enrich is expected to lead the line with support from Fabian Orellana once again, although Bigas's absence will see a change at the back with Paulo Oliveira expected to come in.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Firpo; De Jong, Busquets, Vidal; Fati, Griezmann, Messi

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Arbilla, Burgos, Oliveira, Cote; Cristoforo, Diop; Leon, Exposito, Orellana; Enrich


We say: Barcelona 2-0 Eibar

It is difficult to make a case for Eibar this weekend considering their away form this season. Barca are far from perfect at the moment but should still have too much for their Basque opponents on the afternoon.


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La Liga Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona27184563313258
2Real Madrid27168349193056
3Sevilla27138639291047
4Real Sociedad27144945331246
5Getafe27137737251246
6Atletico MadridAtletico271112431211045
7Valencia2711973839-142
8Villarreal27115114438638
9Granada27115113332138
10Athletic Bilbao2791082923637
11Osasuna2781093438-434
12Real Betis2789103843-533
13Levante27103143240-833
14AlavesAlaves2788112937-832
15Real Valladolid27611102333-1029
16EibarEibar2776142741-1427
17Celta Vigo27511112234-1226
18Mallorca2774162844-1625
19Leganes2758142139-1823
20Espanyol2748152346-2320
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La Liga Table
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Barcelona27184563313258
2Real Madrid27168349193056
3Sevilla27138639291047
4Real Sociedad27144945331246
5Getafe27137737251246
6Atletico MadridAtletico271112431211045
7Valencia2711973839-142
8Villarreal27115114438638
9Granada27115113332138
10Athletic Bilbao2791082923637
11Osasuna2781093438-434
12Real Betis2789103843-533
13Levante27103143240-833
14AlavesAlaves2788112937-832
15Real Valladolid27611102333-1029
16EibarEibar2776142741-1427
17Celta Vigo27511112234-1226
18Mallorca2774162844-1625
19Leganes2758142139-1823
20Espanyol2748152346-2320
Scroll for more - Tap for full version
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