MX23RW : Friday, April 26 14:24:51| >> :600:110592244:110592244:
Oct 25, 2015 at 5.15pm UK at ​Camp Nou
Suarez (21', 48', 85')
Mascherano (83')
FT(HT: 1-1)
Baston (10')

Preview: Barcelona vs. Eibar

Sports Mole previews the La Liga clash between Barcelona and Eibar at Camp Nou.

Barcelona will be watching intently when Celta Vigo take on Real Madrid on Saturday before they face off against Eibar at Camp Nou.

The Catalan club, Celta and Real are locked in the top three spots in the table after eight matches, but Luis Enrique's men can move to the top spot if the result in the other match ends in a draw.


FC Barcelona head coach Luis Enrique reacts during the UEFA Champions League Group E match between AS Roma and FC Barcelona at Stadio Olimpico on September 16, 2015© Getty Images

Barcelona put in a strong performance during the week against BATE Borisov in the Champions League to leave them in a strong position to secure their place in the knockout stage of the competition.

Enrique and his side will now turn their attentions back to the league, where they have not quite hit their best form at the start of the season, despite sitting in third place in the table after eight games.

The Catalan club were hammered by Celta Vigo in September, while they also suffered a loss to Sevilla in their last trip away from Camp Nou.

However, Enrique's side responded to their defeat with an emphatic 5-2 win over Rayo Vallecano as Neymar notched four goals, despite falling behind in the early stages of the clash.

Barcelona have been in imperious form at Camp Nou at the start of the season, winning all four of their matches, which has helped them keep pace with Real and Celta following their defeats on the road.

The club have missed the presence of Lionel Messi in attack due to injury, although Neymar has been in impressive form in recent weeks, scoring eight goals in his last six league matches.

Defensively, Enrique will have major concerns that his side have kept just two clean sheets in La Liga this season, the last of which came against Malaga in the second week of the campaign. Although, they did post a shutout against BATE during the week in their clash in Belarus.

Should results go in their favour, Barcelona could well be back on top of the table as they seek to defend their crown, despite being far from their best this season.

Recent form: WWLWLW
Recent form (all competitions): LWWLWW


Borja Gonzalez of SD Eibar celebrates after scoring during the La Liga match between SD Eibar and Sevilla FC at Ipurua Municipal Stadium on October 17, 2015 in Eibar, Spain.© Getty Images

Eibar have enjoyed a strong start to the campaign as they have lost just once this season to sit in seventh place in the table after eight matches.

Jose Luis Mendilibar's side won their opening two games of the season against Granada and Athletic Bilbao to have the perfect start to the season, and followed that with a solid away point against Malaga.

However, the club were brought back down to earth in a 2-0 defeat at home to Atletico Madrid as goals from Angel Correa and Fernando Torres condemned them to defeat.

Since then Mendilibar's men have been on a four-match unbeaten run, which has included a 2-0 victory over Las Palmas as Berjon Perez Saul and Borja Baston got on the scoresheet.

Baston has been a key player for Eibar since joining the club on loan from Atletico in the summer. The 23-year-old has notched five of his side's 11 goals, and Mendilibar will be hopeful that he can continue his form against Barcelona.

Eibar have been a solid unit on their travels this season as they are unbeaten in their four matches away from the Estadio Municipal de Ipurua, winning twice and drawing twice. However, their record will be put to the test at Camp Nou.

The Armeros have been resolute at the back this season as only three teams in La Liga have a better defensive record than Mendilibar's side. The club have kept three clean sheets in their eight matches, and proved their resilience against Sevilla by holding them to a 1-1 draw in their last outing, but Luis Suarez and Neymar will provide their toughest challenge yet.

Recent form: DLDDWD

Team News

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi celebrates after scoring a goal during their Spanish League football match between FC Barcelona and Mallorca FC on October 29, 2011© Getty Images

Barcelona are still without Messi due to a knee ligament injury, leaving Neymar and Suarez to lead the attack at Camp Nou.

Sergi Roberto will join the Argentine on the sidelines due to a groin injury, while Rafinha is a long-term absentee after suffering a anterior cruciate ligament injury in September.

Andres Iniesta returned to training this week as he stepped up his recovery from a hamstring problem, but the clash on Sunday could come too soon for him to feature, with Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Javier Mascherano to continue in midfield.

Eibar will be without Ivan Ramis for their trip to face Enrique's men, while Antonio Luna (hamstring) and Adrian (adductor) are also out of action.

Mauro Dos Santos and Aleksandar Pantic will anchor the centre of defence in Ramis's absence, while David Junca will deputise for Luna at left-back.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Bravo; Alves, Mathieu, Pique, Alba; Mascherano, Busquets, Rakitic; Suarez, Neymar, Munir

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Riesga; Capa, Pantic, Santos, Junca; Escalante, Garcia; Keko, Berjon, Inui; Baston

Head To Head

The two sides met for the first time last season and Barcelona secured victories in both of the matches.

Messi scored a brace in their last encounter to seal a 2-0 victory for Enrique's men in their trip to Estadio Municipal de Ipurua.

Goals from Xavi, Neymar and Messi fired the Catalan club past Eibar in their clash at Camp Nou.

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We say: Barcelona 2-1 Eibar

Barcelona have not been at their best so far in their league campaign, and will face a difficult challenge against Eibar, who have been solid on the road this season. However, Enrique's men will have enough quality to secure a narrow victory.

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Who will win the La Liga clash between Barcelona and Eibar?

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrates scoring his fifth against Espanyol on September 12, 2015
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