LaLiga Matchweek 16 preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar (Tue - 19:15h. CET) - Team news, possible lineups

Barcelona will be looking to continue their recent strong run of form in La Liga when they welcome Eibar to Camp Nou on Tuesday night.

The Catalan giants have won three of their last four in the league to move into fifth position in the table, while Eibar currently occupy 17th, having picked up just 15 points from their 15 matches this term.

Match preview

There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a disappointing start to the season for Barca, who have only won half of their 14 La Liga matches, drawing three and losing the other four.

A total of 24 points has left them in fifth spot in the table, eight points behind leaders Atletico Madrid, who have a game in hand on Ronald Koeman's side, meaning that Barca have a lot of work to do to become title challengers in the second half of the campaign.

The home side have shown improvement in recent weeks, though, overcoming Levante, Real Sociedad and Real Valladolid in three of their last four matches, in addition to drawing 2-2 with Valencia.

Barca will fancy their chances of beating Eibar and Huesca in their next two fixtures before a tricky trip to Athletic Bilbao on January 6, and it is vital that they start to put together a winning run.

Koeman's side are actually the leading scorers in La Liga this season with 28 goals, but they have found it difficult to show consistency during what is a difficult period in the club's history.

Eibar, though, will not be in the mood to hand out any favours on Tuesday as they bid to stay outside of the bottom three; indeed, a total of 15 points from 15 games has left them 17th, just one point above the relegation zone.

Jose Luis Mendilibar's side are actually operating in their seventh straight season at this level of football, but the early indications are that it could be a difficult campaign for the club.

Eibar have not actually won in the league since the end of November but picked up welcome draws against Valencia and Real Sociedad at the start of December before losing back-to-back games with Real Madrid and Alaves.

Los Armeros have the worst home record in La Liga this season but the sixth-best record on their travels, collecting 11 of their 15 points on the road, which should hand them confidence ahead of this contest.

Barcelona La Liga form: WLWWDW
Barcelona form (all competitions): LLWWDW

Eibar La Liga form: DWDDLL
Eibar form (all competitions): WDDWLL

Team News

Barca will again be without the services of Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto through injury, while Jordi Alba's booking against Valladolid means that the Spaniard is suspended.

The Catalan giants will also be without the services of Lionel Messi, who is nursing an ankle problem; the Argentine should be back in training next week but will miss this contest, meaning that there will have to be a reshuffle in the final third of the field.

Ousmane Dembele is an option, having recovered from a hamstring problem, but Philippe Coutinho could ultimately be handed a starting role, with Pedri, Antoine Griezmann and Martin Braithwaite also featuring in attack.

Koeman could revert to a back four for this game, meaning that Miralem Pjanic could miss out on a spot in the middle of the park despite impressing against Valladolid.

As for Eibar, a lengthy injury list includes Yoshinori Muto, Sergi Enrich, Roberto Correa, Paulo Oliveira, Sergio Cubero and Cote, while Damian Kadzior is unavailable through illness.

Head coach Mendilibar does not have many options for change on Tuesday night, meaning that the bulk of the side that started the defeat to Alaves will again take to the field.

There could be an alteration in the final third, though, with Quique Gonzalez potentially featuring alongside Kike, while Papa Diop could replace Sergio Alvarez in the middle of the park.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Junior; Busquets, De Jong; Pedri, Coutinho, Griezmann; Braithwaite

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Pozo, Burgos, Bigas, Arbilla; Leon, Edu, Diop, Gil; Kike, Quique

Source: Sports Mole / Matt Law 



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