Preview - Eibar vs Barcelona 17 Feb

Started by aaguerra90, Feb 16, 2018, 03:49 AM

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Feb 16, 2018, 03:49 AM Last Edit: Feb 16, 2018, 03:51 AM by aaguerra90
Match Day 25
Eibar vs Barcelona
Saturday, February 17th, 2018
23:15 (GMT +8)
Stadium: Estadio Municipal de Ipurua

Last five matches: W W D D L
Average goals per match: 1.4
Average goals against per match: 1.5
Top Scorer: Charles (6)
Last five matches: D W D W W
Average goals per match: 2.6
Average goals against per match: 0.5
Top Scorer: Lionel Messi (20)

Barcelona have drawn two consecutive matches in La Liga (1-1 with Espanyol, 0-0 with Getafe) and travel to Eibar, a team who is in fantastic form over the past few months and has vaulted itself up to 7th place, only a point from Europa League qualification.

Eibar were seen as canditates to drop to La Liga 123, Spain's second division, at the beginning of the season, but they are now candidates to take one of the Europa League places. Eibar recently thrashed Sevilla 5-1, proving that they are capable of holding their own against anyone in this league. This may come as a surprise to many, but those who have followed the Basque minnows in the past few seasons could see that this side is a formidable one. Only Atletico Madrid and Barcelona have a better record than Eibar in the last eight matches.

Barcelona have seen their lead in La Liga reduced to seven points. This is still a decent lead, but this has breathed life into Atletico Madrid, who will face Barcelona in a few weeks' time. Ernesto Valverde would have considered resting some key players ahead of their Champions League tie versus Chelsea if their lead on Atleti was still at 10 points or more, but that will likely not be the case as he has to guarantee his side get all three points.

Playing at Eibar has proven to be a difficult task for many teams, but it hasn't been the case for Barcelona. The Catalans have emerged victorious in every match the two sides have played in La Liga. Barcelona are still unbeaten in league play, and that should remain the case after this weekend.

Prediction: Eibar 1-2 Barcelona


Half Time: 0-1
Full Time: 0-2
Shots: 10-9
Shots on target: 3-6
Corner Kicks: 6-0
Possession: 51-49

Barcelona fought hard to defeat Eibar 2-0. Eibar played most of the second half with 10 men and also had coach Jose Luis Mendilibar sent off.

Even with the Champions League tie versus Chelsea coming up in midweek, Ernesto Valverde fielded a full strength squad, and surprisingly kept Philippe Coutinho on the bench even though the Brazilian cannot play in Europe for Barca.

Eibar had chances early on, testing Marc-Andre ter Stegen through Kike Garcia and an Ivan Ramis header. Garcia had a penalty shout when it seemed that Sergio Busquets pulled him down after a corner, but the referee waved it off.

Luis Suarez opened the scoring for Barcelona in the 16th minute. Lionel Messi split the defense with a beautiful through ball. Suarez received the ball and dribbled past goalkeeper Marko Dmitrovic before slotting the ball home into an empty net.

Eibar almost equalized two minutes later. Fabian Orellana rifled a shot from 25 meters out, but it rattled the top of the crossbar. Joan Jordan had another try from 20 meters away but his effort went wide.

Suarez almost returned the favor to Messi when he pulled the ball back and found the Argentine in the box, but his shot struck the post.

In the second half Messi dribbled down the right and once again found Suarez, but the Uruguayan tried to chip the goalkeeper and his shot went way over the bar.

Eibar pressed for the equalizer and it seemed like a matter of time before they would find it. That was until Fabian Orellana saw two yellow cards in 8 minutes to get himself sent off. He picked up his first booking after fouling Andres Iniesta in the Barcelona box, the Chilean slid from behind and took out the Spaniard's legs. 8 minutes later, frustration got the best out of Orellana as he punched the ball away following a foul on Sergio Busquets. Orellana had caused the most danger for Eibar, it was a shame to see him sent off for such a silly reason. A few minutes later, coach Mendilibar would be sent to the stands for excessive protesting to the fourth official.

Barcelona put the match away two minutes from time. Jordi Alba intercepted the ball at midfield and played it to Coutinho, who had come on for Iniesta. The Brazilian sent a long ball across the field to fellow substitute Aleix Vidal who brought it down first time to Messi. The Argentine tried slotting the ball into the net but Dmitrovic made the save. Alba, however, was there  to finish the play he started and tap the rebound into the front post.

Barcelona now hold a 10 point lead over Atletico Madrid at the top of the La Liga table. The Madrid side play tomorrow against Athletic Bilbao. Eibar are still in a hunt for a Europa League qualification spot, trailing Villareal by 2 points for 7th place.

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