Barcelona will attempt to recover from their latest setback when they host Elche at the Nou Camp on Saturday. The fallen Catalan giants at least have a great record against their visitors this weekend and should pick up the three points.
Where and when: Nou Camp – 18 December, kick-off 17:30
Where you can see Barcelona vs. Elche: Premier Sports
Last time: Lionel Messi hit a brace before Jordi alba added a third, as Barcelona scored three times in the second half to beat Elche 3-0 at the Nou Camp in February.
Barcelona v Elche Predictions and Preview
They may have a game in hand on the two teams directly above them, but Barcelona enter this weekend’s clash with Elche down in eighth place in the La Liga table. It’s a significant fall from grace, and the hits keep coming for Xavi in the opening weeks of his time in charge.
First, there was a disappointing goalless draw at home to Benfica in late November, which set the scene for their Champions League exit that was confirmed at the hands of a dominant Bayern Munich.
That 3-0 defeat to the Bundesliga champions followed hot on the heels of an awful 1-0 loss at home to Real Betis, while Barca are now winless in three thanks to their latest result. The Blaugrana conceded an 86th-minute equaliser to draw 2-2 with Osasuna on Sunday, throwing away two points despite twice being ahead.
That leaves them five points behind champions Atletico Madrid in fourth. At this rate, the Catalans may be left needing to win the Europa League they’ve been unceremoniously dumped into in order to qualify for next season’s Champions League. However, even that will prove tough after being drawn against a good Napoli side.
Getting back to this Barcelona v Elche preview, the Blaugrana will surely be confident if only because of their past record against the Valencian outfit. Barca have won eight of the nine meetings between the clubs in league and cup since Elche were promoted to La Liga in 2014, scoring 28 goals in the process.
The only time Los Franjiverdes avoided defeat was when they held Barca to a goalless draw at the Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero at the back end of the 2013-14 season. Elche winning at the Nou Camp appears highly unlikely at 9/1, but the fact those odds remain in the single digits shows just how much Barcelona are struggling.
Even so, the hosts are the 7/20 favourites with William Hill, and they should have enough to get back to winning ways this weekend, even in the face of a mounting injury crisis. Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto are all out of this game. Despite that, a draw would be another disastrous result for Xavi and his team, and that’s priced at 9/2 in the betting.
One to watch for Barcelona: The 19-year-old Abdessamad Ezzalzouli has been an exciting addition to the Barca first team in recent weeks, with the Moroccan notching his first goal for the Blaugrana last time out. He is 10/1 to follow that up with the opener in these Barcelona v Elche predictions.
One to watch for Elche: Lucas Boye has netted five goals in 14 La Liga appearances so far this season. Four of those have been Elche’s first goal of the game, with the Argentine forward potentially interesting at 12/1 to break the deadlock on Saturday.
Long shot: Barca have scored 10 goals in their last three home La Liga clashes with Los Ilicitanos, winning last season’s corresponding fixture 3-0. The Catalans are 17/2 to win by the same scoreline in these Barcelona v Elche tips, rising to 96/1 with Ezzalzouli netting first.