Eibar vs. Barcelona: Team News, Preview, Live Stream, TV Info

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistFebruary 15, 2018

FC Barcelona's Lionel Messi, second right, takes part during a training session with his teammates at the Sports Center FC Barcelona Joan Gamper in Sant Joan Despi, Spain, Saturday, Feb. 10, 2018. FC Barcelona will play against Getafe in a Spanish La Liga soccer match on Sunday. (AP Photo/Manu Fernandez)
Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

Barcelona will face a big test in La Liga on Saturday, when they visit Eibar with an eye on maintaining their lead at the top of the standings.

The Catalans are winless in their last two matches in La Liga and need to find some momentum ahead of a difficult UEFA Champions League showdown with Chelsea on Tuesday.

The Blaugrana can't afford to look past Eibar, however, who have won their last two matches and are battling for a European ticket.

Here's all you need to know about the upcoming fixture.

            

Date: Saturday, February 17

Time: 3:15 p.m. GMT/10:15 a.m. ET

Venue: Ipurua Municipal Stadium, Eibar

TV Info: BeIN Sports (U.S.)

Live Stream: BeIN Sports Connect, fubo.tv

        

Team News

Samuel Umtiti missed the scoreless draw against Getafe through suspension and could return to the starting XI―although replacement Yerry Mina impressed in his absence. Gerard Pique sat out that contest as well, and he's likely to be rested again, with the Chelsea clash on the horizon.

The Chelsea match could see the Catalans opt to rest several starters at the weekend. Per the club's official website, several Barca B starlets have been training with the first team. Ousmane Dembele was ill and missed training, leaving his status in doubt.

          

Preview

Eibar enter Saturday's clash with plenty of momentum, to the delight of fans and pundits who love watching underdogs punch above their weight. The Guardian's Sid Lowe is one of them:

Los Armeros have always been an odd side, hailing from a town that has a population that could fit into the Camp Nou multiple times. Hidden deep in the Basque hills, Eibar is a tiny blue-collar town, completely unlike major cities such as Madrid and Barcelona.

COPA90 did a feature on the team and their unlikely success story:

The town's identity is highlighted well by the team: Eibar play a brand of simple, no-nonsense football and prioritise results above all else. They are one of two clubs in La Liga's top seven with a negative goal difference, and they have scored just 32 goals in 23 outings―nearly half the output of Barcelona.

Like Getafe, who held Barcelona in their last outing, Eibar have the ability to keep things compact and frustrate their opponents before hitting them on the break or converting a set piece. They are a tough team to figure out and carry more momentum into this contest than their opponents.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

The Catalans can't afford to keep one eye on Chelsea―they'll have to be at their best at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium to prevent a third straight disappointing result, especially now that Atletico have won three in a row and reduced the gap to just seven points.

The Blaugrana and Atletico meet on March 4, and it's vital Atletico don't get any closer before then.

Prediction: Eibar 1-2 Barcelona

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