Messi key as Barcelona look to maintain strain on Atletico Madrid within the league

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Barcelona’s elusive pursuit of La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid continues this midweek as relegation-threatened Elche arrive at Camp Nou.
It’s a must-win affair for Barcelona, as they sit eight factors adrift of Atletico Madrid within the league desk heading into the crunch interval of the season.
Who higher than a struggling Elche aspect to assist Ronald Koeman’s males preserve strain on Diego Simeone’s crew?
Within the meantime, avoiding defeat can be a large success for the guests.
Elche stay within the harmful zone, degree on factors with 17th-placed Eibar. However they do have two video games in hand on their direct relegation challengers.
Barcelona Preview
Forward of the kick-off, Barcelona haven’t misplaced 13 La Liga fixtures in a row (W10, D3). Nevertheless, they arrive into this assembly on the again of a dismal 1-1 house draw with newly-promoted Cadiz.
Lackluster defending has seen Barca fail to maintain a clear sheet in any of their final eight matches in all competitions. It’s been nearly eight years since they final had an extended such streak.
On the different finish of the pitch, the Catalan juggernauts have scored in 33 straight La Liga video games at Camp Nou. The final time they didn’t get on the scoresheet in a house league match was in December 2019 in opposition to arch-rivals Actual Madrid.
As ever, Lionel Messi could possibly be the difference-maker. The six-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored 4 occasions in his three La Liga conferences with Elche.
Elche Preview
Elche gained each of their opening two away matches of the season ‘to nil’ since incomes promotion to La Liga. Subsequently, they’ve failed to grab away all three factors in any of their eight league journeys (D3, L5).
Los Franjiverdes have by no means outscored Barcelona in an away La Liga encounter, dropping 66.67% of their top-flight head-to-head conferences in Catalonia (GP:21 – D7, L14). Elche final discovered the online at Camp Nou in La Liga in 1978.
Fran Escriba’s males have misplaced every of their three aggressive journeys to Barcelona this millennium by a minimum of a three-goal margin. In opposition to this backdrop, 5 of their final seven away La Liga video games have ended separating the edges by below 1.5 targets (D3, L4).
Elche’s slender 1-Zero house triumph in opposition to Eibar final day trip noticed their disastrous 16-match winless run in La Liga come to a halt (D8, L8).
Barcelona v Elche Crew Information
Lengthy-term absentees Philippe Coutinho, Ansu Fati, and Sergi Roberto won’t return to motion this midweek. But, Koeman could have the remainder of his squad match and prepared.
Below-fire Antoine Griezmann ought to spearhead the road following some encouraging shows in latest occasions.
In the meantime, Jony Alamo, Fidel, and Diego Gonzalez won’t function for the travelling aspect.
Barcelona v Elche Predicted Line-ups
Barcelona (4-3-3): Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Sergino Dest; Gerard Pique; Samuel Umtiti; Jordi Alba; Frenkie de Jong; Sergio Busquets; Pedri; Trincao; Lionel Messi; Antoine Griezmann
Elche (4-4-2): Edgar Badia; Cifu; Gonzalo Verdu; Dani Calvo; Johan Mojica; Josan; Guti; Ivan Marcone; Emiliano Rigoni; Lucas Boye; Guido Carrillo

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