Barcelona continue their march towards a first league title since 2018/19 when they visit Elche on Saturday evening.
The Clasico victory over Real Madrid before the international break put Barça 12 points clear at the top of La Liga as goals from Sergi Roberto and Franck Kessie defeated their great rivals.
There’s a massive 55 points separating Xavi’s side from 20th-placed Elche. The Alicante club sacked coach Pablo Machin after a 2-0 loss to Real Sociedad left them 14 points adift of safety. Sebastian Beccacece is the new boss in the dugout, becoming Elche’s fourth manager of the season.
Here’s what you need to know about this fixture.
Elche vs Barcelona H2H Results (Last Five Games)
Current La Liga Form (Last Five Games)
Television Channel/Live Stream
Viaplay Sports 1, LaLigaTV, Viaplay UK
ESPN+, ESPN Deportes
Elche team news
New Elche boss Beccacece is without the suspended duo of Pape Cheikh and Lucas Boye to add to some pretty considerable injury issues.
Jony Alamo, Randy Nteka and Enzo Roco are all sidelined, while Lisandro Magallan has a thigh injury which could also see him miss out. John Nwankwo also has a leg problem and may not be fit in time.
(3-5-2): Badia; Gonzalez, Mercau, Palacios; Carmona, Gumbau, Mascarell, Guti, Clerc; Ponce, Milla.
Barcelona team news
Barça are also struggling with some injuries to key squad members. Ousmane Dembele is still recovering from a muscle injury, while Andreas Christensen and Pedri will also be absent on Saturday night.
Raphinha is suspended for an accumulation of yellow cards, while late calls will be made on the fitness of Ronald Araujo and Frenkie de Jong, though the former isn’t expected to be available.
(4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Kounde, Alonso, Balde; Kessie, Busquets, Gavi; Torres, Lewandowski, Fati.
This is one of the biggest mismatches we’re likely to see across Europe’s top five leagues for the remainder of the season. Elche are in utter disarray and look destined to drop down into the Segunda Division.
Their record against Barcelona is pretty terrible, too. Barça have won the last nine games between the two clubs in all competitions and haven’t lost to Elche since 1974, when a strike from Melenchon downed Johan Cruyff and manager Rinus Michels.
It could be a repeat scoreline of the reverse fixture earlier this season, when Barça won out 3-0 winners at Camp Nou.
Prediction: Elche 0-3 Barcelona