Teams: Elche, FC Barcelona
Tournament: La Liga, Round 20
Venue: Estadio Martinez Valero
Time and Date: 20:45 Hrs, Sunday, CET
Referee: Valentín Pizarro Gómez
Barcelona travels to Alicante on Sunday to face eighteenth place Elche who is currently fighting a relegation battle in La Liga. Barcelona will look to secure another three points against a struggling Elche side who are without a win in La Liga since October. Let’s take a look on how Barcelona are preparing themselves for this match with this match preview.
Ronald Koeman’s side will probably come into the game tired after playing 120 minutes in the last 3 games over the past week with bare minimum rotations in the squad. Lack of rotation has effected players performance as the team is not able to maintain the same level of intensity throughout the game consistently.
Koeman’s side will try to move on after their suffocating defeat in the Super Copa final against Athletic Club which will be remembered as a game ‘Barcelona threw away’. This type of matches has been difficult for Barcelona as the team would park the bus and will not allow the exploitation of spaces between the lines.
They will crowd the midfield disrupting the free-flowing football of Barcelona resulting in a very slow game which could be easily turned into an Elche win.
Squad rotation is expected from Koeman as there are uncertainties over the fitness of some players and some not available through suspension.
TEAM NEWS: Elche vs Barcelona
Barcelona will be without their top scorer Lionel Messi who will not travel with the squad serving his last of 2 match ban. Sergino Dest is another player who has some injury concerns after playing too many minutes over the past few weeks. It is still not confirmed whether or not he will feature in Sunday’s game.
The French duo of Griezmann and Dembele impressed again and it may just be that time of the year when Barcelona could be back to playing the free-flowing and attractive football we all love to watch. Long-term injuries are still side-lining players like Gerard Pique, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Philippe Coutinho for Barcelona.
Elche will be without forwards Guido Carillo and Fidel Chavez.
FORM GUIDE: (Last 5 Matches) La Liga:
FC Barcelona: W D W W W (13 points)
Elche: D D L L D (3 points)
HEAD TO HEAD in La Liga: Elche vs Barcelona
Total Encounters: 5
Barcelona wins: 5
Elche wins: 0
Barcelona won the reverse fixture in September with the help of an early first-half goal from Antoine Griezmann at the beginning of the season. In recent games, Griezmann has been showing glimpses of his fine form and has been a great support to the team.
Elche will look to secure their first-ever win against Barcelona in La Liga and will hope to snatch some points from the visitors who are looking to get into their rhythm.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets; Pedri, Dembélé, Griezmann, Braithwaite
Elche: Edgar; Barragan, Gonzalo, Josema, Josan, Mojica, Carmano, Raúl, Rigoni, Milla, L Boye
Barcelona will be looking to bag three points pretty comfortably against bottom end Elche who will make it difficult for the visitors. The match will end in Barcelona winning by more than 2 goals and securing all three points. It is another one of those important matches in which we cannot afford to drop more points as we are already 10 points behind the league leaders Atletico who have a game in hand.
LIVE GUIDE | #ElcheBarca