A week is a long time in football, and Real Madrid’s league and cup defeats have shown that Zinedine Zidane’s men aren’t invincible. And as the Spanish title race swings wide open, Barcelona are looking to establish themselves as genuine contenders once more by securing a vital three points on Sunday night.
However, a trip to Spain’s plucky underdogs won’t be easy. It should be a fascinating encounter to say the least, and you can watch Sunday’s action unfold live from 7:45PM.
Win some money too, and it’ll be a fitting end to the weekend.
Eibar The Brave Looking For An Upset
Considering they almost wasn’t even allowed to compete in the top flight following their promotion ahead of the 2014-15 campaign, La Liga’s smallest club has done amazingly well to consolidate its position. The hosts are currently sitting in the top half, and a first ever win over Barcelona would go down as one of the most magical nights in their history.
Mendilibar’s men can be quietly optimistic given that they’ve lost just twice in nine games at Ipurua, and they certainly boast some quality players in the form of Pedro Leon and Luna. Moreover, while he isn’t quite Luis Suarez, Sergi Enrich is more than capable of converting any chances that come his way, which could be key as they are likely to be few and far between.
Eibar know that they’ll have to surrender possession, but the hosts will not be worried. If they can stick to their game plan and frustrate Barcelona, anything could happen – particularly if Real Madrid and Sevilla win their matches earlier in the weekend.
The hosts have nothing to lose, and that could make them a dangerous prospect for the visitors. Having said that, Eibar will be under no illusions about the challenge they face.
Are Barca Back?
Lionel Messi scoring free-kicks for fun, Neymar back to scoring, penalties being converted, and an end to the Real Sociedad voodoo have already given Barcelona a perfect start to 2017. Register an important win against Eibar to keep the pressure up on the top two, and Luis Enrique’s men will be in their best moment of the entire season just as it eases towards the business end.
For all their perceived problems, the Blaugrana has tasted defeat just once in nine away games this term, scoring 24 times in the process. Moreover, they enter this clash on the back of three straight competitive wins while their head-to-head record over Sunday’s opponents reads four wins from four.
If that wasn’t enough reason for confidence, the visitors are virtually at full strength aside from the suspended Javier Mascherano. Assuming they dominate the play as expected, the formidable front three should have enough firepower to cause damage. Given that Eibar aren’t the most frequent scorers, that should be enough to see them through.
Depending how other results go, it could put them top of the pile as they look to retain the title. Whether they hit top gear or not, it should be an explosive encounter.
Eibar v Barcelona Betting
Even with home advantage on their side, Eibar are massive underdogs for this clash and are priced 17/2 to cause a major upset against the champions. Barcelona, meanwhile, are available at 2/7 and the draw can be backed at 5/1.
Eibar’s strategy will naturally take a more defensive flavour as they look to soak up Barcelona’s pressure, which should result in a lot of possession for the visitors. With this in mind, our first selection is on the Asian corner handicap.
Barcelona boast an average of 6.39 corners per game while they concede just 2.72. While Eibar tend to earn more than they give away too, the away side’s dominance should see them beat this line – even if they don’t reach the race to 7 or race to 9 lines.
As spirited as Eibar are, we cannot see them stopping Barcelona from securing an important win. However, the visitors may need to be patient before getting the breakthrough.
On their day, Barcelona are capable of a rout against anyone. For this trip to Ipurua, we expect them to win with a cushion, but without embarrassing the hosts completely. At 13/2, a 2-0 win offers great value.