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Exactly one month after winning 2-0 in Elche, FC Barcelona are meeting the same team in another Liga fixture, one which was originally scheduled for Week One of the competition.
The game comes at a crucial moment for both teams. After dropping two points at home to Cádiz on Sunday, Barça missed out on a valuable opportunity to make up ground on the league leaders and can’t afford any further setbacks.
Elche, meanwhile, have welcomed Fran Escribá back as their new coach, setting him the mission of steering the green-and-whites out of the relegation zone. Things started well. In his first game in charge he ended the team’s 16-match winless streak with a 1-0 defeat of fellow strugglers Eibar.
History is very much on Barça’s side. Including the Joan Gamper Trophy match at the start of this season and a Copa del Rey tie in 2015, no fewer than 12 games have passed without Elche scoring a single goal against the blaugrana.
How to watch
The game is kicking off at 7.00pm CET, the unusually early start being due to UEFA regulations on games not coinciding with Champions League broadcasts. We have a worldwide guide to kick-off times and TV broadcasters here, and we also have minute by minute coverage of the action in our Match Center, including live commentary on Radio Barça.
La Liga state of play
The draw with Cádiz means that Barça have dropped to fourth in the Liga table, with Sevilla rising to third following their 2-0 win at Osasuna on Monday.
Runaway leaders Atlético Madrid have begun to falter, and have just win from their last four outings, including a 2-0 defeat at home to Levante on Saturday. They're not such runaways leaders any more.
Real Madrid are second, their win in Valladolid closing the gap on their city rivals to just three points, although they have played one more game.
Last five games
(LIGA) Barça 1-1 Cádiz
(CHAMPIONS LEAGUE) Barça 1-4 Paris Saint Germain
(LIGA) Barça 5-1 Alavés
(COPA DEL REY) Sevilla 2-0 Barça
(LIGA) Betis 2-3 Barça
(LIGA) Elche 1-0 Eibar
(LIGA) Celta 3-1 Elche
(LIGA) Elche 2-2 Villarreal
(LIGA) Valencia 1-0 Elche
(LIGA) Elche 0-2 Barça
Did you know?
Barça have never lost at home to Elche, although the green-and-whites are surpringly efficient at collecting points in this fixture. They're drawn on exactly half (7/14) of their visits.
New Elche boss Fran Escribá has faced Barça 11 times in the past and his only win was with Celta in 2018/19.
Lionel Messi has scored four goals in three games against Elche, an average of 1.33 GPG. Only against two other teams has he played on at least three occasions and enjoyed a better return: Eibar (1.82) and Rayo Vallecano (1.7).
Elche have not scored against FC Barcelona at the Camp Nou in LaLiga since April of 1978 (5-1, goal by Marcelo Trobbiani) and haven't taken points there since April of 1975 (0-0).
"Elche are fighting relegation and they just won a game. So it’ll be hard and I don’t know if they’ll play as defensively as Cádiz did the other day.”
“Perhaps we are uneasy when we’re just goal in front because it’s happened before. I must say we’ve been unlucky. It seems like our opponents are doing very little while we have all the possession and chances, and they end up scoring and we draw 1-1."
“We need to be more effective in attack. Our chance conversion rate is very low for a team like Barcelona."
"We can still win the league. Everyone is dropping points"“
“I always like to give young players a chance, but we need the experienced ones to get us through. We have players of just 18 and 19 years in the team and we need fresh legs. We have some very tired players.”
“Ronald Araujo won’t play tomorrow. There are doubts and it’s better to wait. Maybe for the weekend, maybe next Wednesday… I can’t give you an exact date.”
"We can still win the league. Everyone is dropping points. We have a big cup game too but I’m not thinking that the cup is more important right now.”
Elche manager Fran Escribá
"It is hard to imagine Barça getting three bad results in a row. They’re a top class team and they’ll be hurt. We shouldn’t misinterpret the game with Cádiz because they equalised with a penalty and Barça could have finished off the game long before … My intention is not to sit back and defend so close to our goal as Cádiz did."<
Ronald Koeman announced his squad on the morning of the game, consisting of 22 players: Ter Stegen, Dest, Piqué, Sergio, Griezmann, Pjanić, Braithwaite, Messi, O. Dembélé, Riqui Puig, Neto, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincão, Jordi Alba, Matheus, F. De Jong, Umtiti, Junior, Iñaki Peña, O. Mingueza and Konrad.
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