Camp Nou – Thursday 8th January at 21:00 live on Sky Sports 5
Barcelona face bottom of the table Elche in the 1st leg of the last 16 of the Copa Del Rey. Elche will look at the off the field crisis happening at Barcelona as a positive and will seek to take full advantage of any unrest at the Camp Nou.
Barca, Luis Enrique, Lionel Messi and co have not been out of the press since their 1-0 defeat at the hands of David Moyes’ Real Sociedad. Rumours of tensions between the Barca manager and their star player has dominated the headlines with most believing Messi is as close as he has ever come to leaving the Catalan club. Story’s of a €200M+ move to Chelsea are everywhere but the likelihood of this has got to be very slim, Luis Enrique will surely be given the boot before Barcelona part with arguably the worlds greatest player. Since Sunday, former goalkeeper, Andoni Zubizaretta was sacked from his position of sporting director, followed by the resignation of his assistant, club legend Carles Puyol. Not a good week for anyone affiliated with the club. Enrique left a host of stars out of the starting line-up against Sociedad, will he do the same tonight, can he afford to do the same tonight?
Elche are bottom of La Liga, losing 10 of their 17 games so far this season. Elche have managed just 1 away win way back in mid-September when they beat Rayo Vallecano 3-2. They also have the leagues worst defensive record conceding an average of 2 goals a game. Tonight they face a side who have scored 26 goals in their last 5 home matches, scoring at least 5 goals in 4 of those, mission impossible for Elche….I think so.
Even if Luis Enrique causes more controversy tonight and leaves out some of his top players, Barca have more than enough to dominate the worst team in La Liga. The question is, will they take their foot of the gas after going a couple goals up? Do Barcelona ever take the foot off the gas? With all the off field goings on and Enrique’s job in the balance, I think the they will want to make a statement this evening. Barcelona -2.75 @ 1.88 is my recommendation.
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