FC Barcelona takes on Elche CF in an early kickoff at Estadio Martinez Valero on Sunday. The Catalan club is on red hot form after scoring four goals in all the last three matches. It was a hectic 14 days for Barcelona, and then they had a whole week’s rest before facing Elche. Now, they will be in search of the third straight win in La Liga when they lock horns with Elche.
Last Sunday night, the Blaugrana demolished Athletic Club 4-0 at Camp Nou in a statement victory. Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang opened the scoring with a stunning volley before Ousmane Dembélé came off the bench and more than made his mark. The French winger first scored a thunderbolt before setting up fellow substitutes Luuk de Jong and then Memphis, who secured an emphatic victory.
This means Xavi’s side have scored four in three successive games, having also won away at Valencia and Napoli earlier in the week, 4-1 and then 4-2.
The Catalan giants are currently fourth in the table, one point behind third-placed Real Betis with a game in hand, while Elche occupies 13th, eight points clear of the relegation zone.
Elche have won four times in the league since January 10, which has allowed them to move away from the relegation zone, with the club currently sitting 13th in the table on 29 points.
In the last five matches, Barca have won four, and now they will be looking to extend their unbeaten run. The Catalan giants have not actually lost in the league since the start of December, and they currently sit fourth in the table, level on points with fifth-placed Atletico Madrid.
Elche CF: Elche will again be without the services of Javier Pastore, John Donald and Helibelton Palacios this weekend through injury, while Gerard Gumbau is out of the match through suspension.
Raul Guti could take Gumbau’s position in the centre of the midfield. At the same time, there could also be a change out wide, with Fidel potentially coming in for Guido Carrillo, with Pere Milla moving further forward.
FC Barcelona: As for Barcelona, Alejandro Balde, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti remain on the sidelines through injury.
Jordi Alba is back from a one-match suspension and should start at left-back, with Sergino Dest likely to return to right-back, while Frenkie de Jong could be back in central midfield.
Ousmane Dembele, Memphis Depay and Luuk de Jong all scored off the bench against Athletic last time out. Still, the trio is likely to be among the substitutes once again, with Aubameyang being joined by Adama Traore and Ferran Torres in the final third of the field.
Elche’s possible starting lineup:
Badia; Barragan, Roco, Bigas, Mojica; Morente, Mascarell, Guti, Fidel; Milla, Boye
Barcelona’s possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Pique, Alba; F de Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Traore, Aubameyang, Torres