|La Liga 2014-15|
| Elche CF
||vs|| FC Barcelona
ScheduleSaturday, 24 January 2015 at 15:00 GMT / 15:00 UK / 20:30 IST
VenueEstadio Manuel Martinez Valero (Elche)
Next Saturday, 24th of January 2015, a highly motivated Barcelona will travel to Alicante to measure forces with a relegation-threatened Elche at Estadio Manuel Martinez Valero for round 20 of the Spanish Liga BBVA, on a match that the Blaugranas need to win in order to continue their frantic pursuit of the current league leaders, Real Madrid.
Barcelona are definitely going through a very positive period as they’ve have managed to win their last five matches. The defeat at Anoeta against Real Sociedad in their first match of the new year, triggered an unthinkable and strong reaction from the Blaugranas who seem now to be back on track and more consistent than ever. Two wins over the current La Liga champions, Atlético Madrid, the last one yesterday on the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, have definitely restored Barça’s motivation levels and brought harmony to the team’s locker room, which was being allegedly heavily agitated as a consequence of Anoeta’s painful defeat.
Luis Enrique, who has been heavily criticized by both the media and by a reasonable percentage of supporters, is, in fact, doing a quality job at the helm of the Catalan team and he did good in rallying the troops after Real Sociedad’s defeat.
The next Saturday’s match against Elche will probably not be very a complicated one. The last time both sides measured forces at Martinez Valero, Barça smashed Los Franjiverdes by 4-0, on a match where Luis Enrique gave some first team football to some of the players that aren’t usually part of Barça’s starting line-up. For the upcoming clash, the Asturian manager will not be able to rely on the contribution of Thomas Vermaelen and Douglas Pereira, both currently sidelined due to injury.
As for Elche, the Comunidad Valenciana team has been having a complicated season so far, but they seem to be showing some signs of recovery over their recent league clashes. Last weekend, Elche overcame Levante at home by 1-0, proving that they had already recovered from the Copa del Rey heavy home defeat against Barça. Los Franjiverdes are currently on a three league match row without defeats, a record that will certainly be difficult to extend, given the power of their next opponents.
Despite of Elche’s recent improvements, they probably do not have what is necessary to defeat the all-powerful Barcelona of Messi, Neymar and Suárez.
Stats: W-2 L-2 D-1
Recent Form - WLWLD
Stats: W-4 L-1 D-0
Recent Form - WWWLW
Elche (4-2-3-1) - Tyton - Suárez - Pelegrín - Roco - Cisma -Pasalic - Gonzalez - Garry Rodrigues - Niguez - Fajr - Jonathas
Barcelona (4-3-3) - Bravo - Alves - Mascherano - Piqué - Jordi Alba - Busquets - Rakitic - Iniesta - Neymar - Suárez - Messi