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Preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Tuesday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Eibar, including predictions, team news and 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

Barcelona manager Ronald Koeman pictured in October 2020© Reuters

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 boss Jose Luis Mendilibar pictured in September 2019© Reuters

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

Lionel Messi in action for Barcelona on December 19, 2020© Reuters

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


SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 2-0 Eibar

Eibar lost 5-0 in the corresponding game last season, and we are finding it difficult to back anything other than a routine home victory on Tuesday night. Barca will be far from at full strength but should still have more than enough quality to put another three points on the board here.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting over 2.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Over 2.5:data


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Olympic medal table header
CountryGold medalSilver MedalBronze MedalT
ChinaChina32211669
United StatesUnited States24282173
JapanJapan1961136
AustraliaAustralia1441634
Olympics flagRussian Olympic Committee13211852
Great BritainGreat Britain13171343
Today's Olympic highlights header

Wednesday's key events


SKATEBOARDING
· Team GB starlet Sky Brown - aged just 13 - takes part in the women's park event and has a realistic chance of picking up a medal too. Bombette Martin is Britain's other representative, while hosts Japan are among the favourites for gold (1am)

HOCKEY
· Great Britain's women have more history in their sights heading into their semi-final against Netherlands - the team they beat in the 2016 gold medal match (2.30am)

ATHLETICS
· The men's 400m hurdles final on Tuesday will go down as one of the greatest Olympic races of all time, and the women will attempt to emulate that, with new world record holder Sydney McLaughlin of USA and Netherlands' Femke Bol the favourites for gold (3.30am)
· Nick Miller is Britain's representative in the men's hammer throw final (12.15pm)
· The men's 800m final could be a wide-open affair (1.05pm)
· A thrilling men's 200m final is in store as the likes of Andre de Grasse, Noah Lyles and 17-year-old sensation Erriyon Knighton bid to succeed Usain Bolt as Olympic champion (1.55pm)

SAILING
· After a medal-laden day on the water on Tuesday, Great Britain will be looking for more success, starting with Luke Patience and Chris Grube in the men's 470-class medal race (6.33am)
· Team GB also have medal hopes in the women's event, with defending champion Hannah Mills looking to retain her crown alongside new teammate Eilidh McIntyre (7.33am)

BOXING
· Already guaranteed at least a bronze, Great Britain's Frazer Clarke faces Uzbekistan's Bakhodir Jalolov in the men's super heavyweight with a place in the gold medal bout up for grabs (7.03am)
· Ben Whittaker is also guaranteed a medal, but will look to ensure that is either gold or silver as he takes on Cuba's Arlen Lopez in the light heavyweight final (7.35am)

CYCLING
· World records have been tumbling in the velodrome, and another could go in the men's team pursuit final as Italy - new world record holders themselves - face Denmark (10.06am)

EQUESTRIAN
· Three Brits have made into into the final of the men's jumping individual final, including fastest qualifier Ben Maher, who will bid to inherit compatriot Nick Skelton's Olympic crown (11am)

> Today's schedule in full
Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Athletic Bilbao00000000
2Atletico MadridAtletico00000000
3Barcelona00000000
4CadizCadiz00000000
5Celta Vigo00000000
6AlavesAlaves00000000
7ElcheElche00000000
8Espanyol00000000
9Getafe00000000
10Granada00000000
11Levante00000000
12Mallorca00000000
13Osasuna00000000
14Rayo Vallecano00000000
15Real Betis00000000
16Real Madrid00000000
17Real Sociedad00000000
18Sevilla00000000
19Valencia00000000
20Villarreal00000000

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