Barcelona notch up win after two draws

Eibar host the unbeaten La Liga leaders at the Ipurua Municipal Stadium (kick off 3.15pm) and Valverde's men boast a seven-point lead over second-placed Atletico Madrid.

Lionel Messi looks ready for London.

FC Barcelona assured they will retain their seven-point lead at the top of the Liga Santander whatever happens in the rest of the weekend when they won a tough game 2-0 away to Eibar on Saturday evening.

They are provisionally fifth, three points behind Real Madrid in fourth but having played two games more. On Tuesday they're off to Stamford Bridge. Having guided his side to two comfortable mid-table finishes in his first couple of seasons, he now has his ambitions set upon an unlikely European qualification. However they cast off their shackles with an exciting attacking display to defeat Copenhagen 4-1 away from home in the Europa League showing that when they put their mind to attack, they can do so. The week was free and now we have games again after each other.

The game-winner was scored by Luis Suarez - his 17th in 21 league matches - in the 16th minute after the Uruguayan striker was played through by an inch-perfect ball from Lionel Messi.

After a slow start, the Catalans quickly settled in their rhythm and the opening goal subsequently followed, which was converted by Luis Suarez after 16 minutes, 0-1.

Eibar were not cowed and lively right winger Orellana unleashed a dipping effort against the bar before Joan Jordan dragged wastefully wide from the edge of the box.

Orellana went the closest for the Basque club when he looped a shot over goalie Marc-Andre ter Stegen, only for the ball to hit the crossbar in the 19th.

Gerard Pique was an unused substitute for that match due to an ongoing knee problem, but the centre-back has also made the cut alongside the likes of Messi, Luis Suarez and captain Andres Iniesta.

Orellana damaged his team's chances of a comeback when he earned bookings in the 57th and 66th. Valverde however, remained adamant that Eibar can not be taken lightly.

Despite playing a man down, Eibar still managed to make Barcelona work.

Things nearly got even worse for Barcelona in the dying moments as they began to look vulnerable to the counterattack and a fine late save from Ter Stegen was required to maintain their unbeaten record.

Barcelona can not afford many more slip-ups in La Liga and will not be able to rest as many key players for this fixture as they would otherwise have hoped.

The bottom line is that this Barcelona side is also extraordinarily good under Ernesto Valverde.

It was something of a exhausted display by Barca at Ipurua, perhaps unsurprising given that the Catalans have been in action twice a week for the most part in 2018 due to their games in La Liga and their run to the final of the Copa del Rey.

Of the last 23 sendings off in La Liga matches involving Barcelona, 22 of them have been against Barcelona's rivals. It remained in seventh place.

Sevilla warmed up for Wednesday's clash with Manchester United by winning 2-1 away to relegation-fighting Las Palmas to go fifth, provisionally, in the standings. Draws with Espanyol and Getafe came after being pushed to the limit by Alavés the week before.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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