Elche vs Barcelona by Pinstripe

Elche
VS
Barcelona
Elche host Barcelona on the 20th matchday of the Spanish Primera Division. The two teams have already played each other twice this year in Copa del Rey. Barcelona destroyed Elche 5-0 at home in the first leg and 4-0 at Elche's home ground in the second leg - with many reserve players starting the latter match.

 

Barcelona are trailing Real Madrid by a single point at the top of la Liga - although Real have played one game less because of their Club World Cup duties. Staying at the heels of Real Madrid will surely give Barcelona the required motivation to win this game. Barcelona are high on confidence right now, having beaten Atletico Madrid twice in the past two weeks, and Lionel Messi is back to his brilliant best. Luis Enrique might even be tempted to give Messi some rest with the second leg of Copa del Rey against Atletico coming up next Wednesday - but I don't think he will. When the Barcelona gaffer rested Messi last time against Real Sociedad and Barcelona ended up losing, Enrique got a ton of criticism and was even jeered at by some of Barca's own fans in their next home fixture.

 

Elche are just one point away from slipping into the relegation zone. They have surprisingly won their last two matches in la Liga, but I wouldn't give those two victories too much importance, given that they came against struggling Athletic and lowly Levante. Elche's defence looked very suspicious in the two cup matches against Barcelona and their defenders are prone to individual errors, which Messi & co. will surely take advantage of. I expect another healthy win for the Catalunyans.

 

GL

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Barcelona -1.5 Unibet 1.56 10 0-6 WON (+5.6 units)
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