Skip to main content

3 reasons why Barcelona beat Eibar (3-1)

Barcelona survived an unlikely early scare from minnows Eibar to clinch a 3–1 win at the Camp Nou last night. Three Luis Suarez goals cancelled out Borja Baston’s opening salvo for Eibar, as the champions moved up to second in the standings, level on points with first-placed Real Madrid.

Luis Enrique went with his template 4–3–3 set-up with the strongest available line-up. The injured Sergi Roberto was replaced by Ivan Rakitic in midfield, while Sandro came in for Munir in attack and Claudio Bravo replaced Marc-Andre ter Stegen in goal; the only changes from midweek’s Champions League win over BATE Borisov.

Eibar manager Jose Luis Mendilibar made three changes from last weekend’s draw with Sevilla as Aleksandar Pantic, Keko and Simone Verdi all made the starting line-up which set up in a 4–2–3–1 formation with Borja up front, and the double pivot of Dani Garcia and Gonzalo Escalante.

1. Eibar’s Energetic Start And Just Deserts

Eibar started the match with greater energy and allowed little time on the ball to Barca to build up from the back. They employed a 1–2 pressing from the front; centre-forward Borja closed down goalkeeper Bravo in possession, while their three-man advanced midfield zonally covered the passing options of Barca’s two centre-backs, Gerard Pique and Marc Bartra.

The visitor’s high energy approach caught out Barca early, which led to Borja’s goal in the 10th minute. Eibar created an overload on the right touchline which forced Rakitic to thread an uncomfortable backwards pass to Bartra. The Catalan youngster, under pressure, lost the ball in his own half and facilitated Eibar’s counter, which led to the deserved opening goal for the minnows.

Bartra, who is normally assured on the ball but tends to panic in tight spaces, failed to recover from his loss of possession and it was Eibar’s energetic pressing starting from their left flank that led to the first goal. However, as the game progressed, their energy tailed off which allowed Barca far more time on the ball to play their usual, passing football.

2. Eibar Fail To Maintain Starting Momentum, Allowing Barca To Gradually Grow Into The Game

Eibar were good value for their initial approach, and offered little space in the central areas for Barca to operate and build play centrally. Their double 6 of Garcia and Escalante continually pushed up to remain compact with the advanced midfield of Keko, Verdi and Takashi Inui which in turn allowed little to no space for Busquets and Rakitic to play forward passes or receive passes from the back.

After going a goal down, Barca were desperate to open up Eibar through the middle but they were allowed little leeway in their centre-oriented approach. Neymar from an outside left position started dropping shorter, a move to draw three Eibar players towards himself to open up space in the centre. It was clear when Neymar dropped short on the left flank but Jordi Alba stayed shorter instead of overlapping; when Keko closed in on the Brazilian, Neymar and Alba tried to move the ball centrally in triangulation with Busquets.

Eibar had trouble keeping up their approach, and with Barca pushing up after going behind, their double pivot sat closer to the back four. It was interesting how a set-piece from Eibar near the centre circle which had eight players ahead of the ball allowed Barca to equalise. With the tired legs of Eibar not in sync with play, Sandro’s movement beyond left-back David Junca was the key to Barca’s first goal.

Barca gradually grew into the game, while Eibar sat back defending against a somewhat toothless Blaugrana attacking unit. There were occasional bursts of pressing from the away side, but most of their attacking involved solo runs or players running into cul-de-sacs against Barca defenders’ superior ability in 1v1 situations.

Javier Mascherano tucked in between Pique and Barta, allowing the full-backs to motor forward, as Barca morphed into a 3–4–3 in the final quarter hour before half-time. One instance of Eibar’s occasional attacking burst was when Keko forced Bartra into an almost goal-line clearance before half- time.

3. Neymar’s Influence, Defensive Mistakes From Eibar Costly

Once again, Neymar was heavily involved in Barca’s patterns of attacking play last night. The Brazilian, who worked hard in the opening periods to break the shackles of Eibar’s pressing, gradually offered better penetrative movements and roamed the breadth of the pitch drawing defenders with him and attracting fouls. Neymar suffered five fouls in the Eibar half of the pitch.

Neymar had a hand in all three Barca goals; the first came after he dribbled past two defenders while cutting inside from wide left leading Eibar’s defenders to indent towards him which allowed Sandro space behind the back line, whereas for the second, Neymar recovered possession in the attacking third before embarking on another of his characteristic mazy runs into the box before squaring for Suarez at the perfect moment. The third goal, too, was the result of a Neymar pass.

As the game progressed, defensive mistakes crept into Eibar’s game. There were fouls aplenty in the middle third during the second half. Left-back Ander Capa’s mistake in possession early in the second half allowed Neymar to capitalise as the right centre-back, Mauro Dos Santos opened up space for Suarez inside the box while trying to cover for Capa.

Capa was once again at fault for Barca’s third goal as he vacated his right-back zone completely as Eibar tried to push forward after Mascherano’s dismissal. This allowed Suarez ample space in the void created by Capa, and Neymar’s pass was expertly taken down and finished with aplomb by the Uruguayan who celebrated his first anniversary at Barcelona with some style.

By Abhijit Bharali, columnist at Barcablog. Follow him on Twitter here

What did you think of the game? Login with Facebook, Twitter, Google or Disqus below


Popular posts from this blog

Who should Barcelona sign this summer? | The Barcablog Podcast

Marco Verratti and Thiago Alcantara are only two of the names discussed. Who else should be considered to join Barca during the summer transfer window? What does the team truly need?

This video is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

The Barcablog Podcast #2 | Pique, Ramos, Verratti, Thiago, Ronaldinho and more!

Gerard Pique, Sergio Ramos, Marco Verratti, Thiago Alcantara, Ronaldinho and Dani Alves are only a few of the names discussed by Francesc and Dan in Episode #2 of The Barcablog Podcast. As always, you are in for a treat -- If you love FC Barcelona and opinionated Cules speaking their mind, that is!

This episode is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Enjoy the show!

Barcelona Podcast: Who is the best Brazilian to ever play for Barca?

Barcelona fans have witnessed the very best of Brazil at the Camp Nou for decades. With so many talented stars to choose from, Francesc and Dan have a difficult task ahead in their podcast: Can anyone beat Dani Alves to the top spot of our 'Best of Brazil' countdown?

Did Barcelona deserve to lose La Liga? | The Barcablog Podcast

Barcelona lost La Liga to Real Madrid after taking the title race to the very last game. Did Messi, Neymar, Suarez and the rest of the Barca stars do enough to secure the trophy?

This video is brought to you by FUBOTV. We have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch ALL FC Barcelona matches in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Marco Reus, preferred transfer target for Barca fans | Barcelona News

THE BARCABLOG PODCAST | Replacing Luis Enrique, Discussing La Masia | Episode I

We are proud to bring you our first ever The Barcablog Podcast! In this episode, Francesc and Dan discuss Luis Enrique’s replacement, Barça’s chances to win La Liga, the effectiveness of La Masia, Marlon’s impact on the first team, the future of Denis Suarez -- And some more mildly interesting random stuff!

Plus a special edition of ‘Random Corner’ in which the boys break down their horrendous 'The Worst 5 Barcelona signings of the XXI century' countdown. Did anyone beat Alexandr Hleb in our Top of the Flops list?

This episode is brought to you by FUBOTV. As a thank you, we have secured an EXCLUSIVE discount for you to watch every FC Barcelona match in HD by clicking HERE -- You will also be supporting our podcast as well as we get a very small commission whenever our link is used.

Enjoy the show!

How to watch every Barcelona game online, on mobile and on TV

Barcelona, lead by their legendary attacking trident of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, are on a mission to bring more trophies to the Camp Nou museum this season -- and you should not miss a second of the action!

Whether you live in or outside the USA, you can easily stream every Barca match to your desktop computer, mobile device or even your TV.
FuboTV is a live streaming channel that offers every Barcelona match as well as the whole of La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and Premiera Liga for only $6.99 a month.

I have personally been watching Barca on FuboTV for years and the 1080p Ultra-HD quality is certainly the best in the market right now. No more dodgy, pixelated streaming for me!

There is a 7-DAY free trial option available and if you cancel your subscription within 24 hours you will not be charged.

Click here to sign up for a 7-DAY free trial with FuboTV.

Fubo TV is currently only available in US. To watch …

BARCELONA PODCAST: El Clasico, Champions League elimination, La Liga

The latest Barca Podcast is now live! George Bennet from GB Articles interviewed Francesc Tomas and questioned him on Barca's recent El Clasico victory, the disastrous Champions League elimination and the decisive final matches in La Liga. You don't want to miss this!

Barcelona rewriting history after 1,500 matches at glorious Camp Nou

Barcelona have now played a staggering 1,500 games of football at the Camp Nou. The stadium, which was built back in 1957 to replace the legendary Les Corts Stadium due to the demand for tickets exceeding the ground’s capacity, has witnessed 1,119 Barca wins, 238 draws and only 143 defeats over the years.

Barca are clearly not invincible at the Camp Nou but their winning records of 75% and being unbeaten in 90% of home games speaks for themselves.

Barcelona have now become a global phenomenon thanks to not only their dominance, but also the many world-class stars that have been part of their squad over the years. Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar take the vast majority of the spotlight these days, but their success can only be understood as a continuation of the work of legends such as Johan Cruyff, Ronaldinho, Rivaldo, Hristo Stoichkov or Lazlo Kubala over the years.

Camp Nou is a synonym of sporting excellence these days. The recent successes under the leadership of Luis Enrique…

Neymar must stay to secure Barcelona long-term success

Neymar has been excellent for Barcelona since he joined the Catalan giants back in the summer of 2013. Despite the many question marks over whether he would accept to share the spotlight with Lionel Messi, his professionalism off the pitch and even the legality of his transfer, the Brazilian youngster has made a remarkable impact and deservedly become a Camp Nou favourite.

As our partners as Sbobet Mobile know, Barcelona are not currently leading the La Liga table but nobody in their right mind would rule them out of retaining the title. If the Blaugranas are to leapfrog Real Madrid before the end of the season and win the league for the third consecutive season, Neymar has a huge role to play in the nine games remaining.

Fortunately for Cules, Neymar is currently playing the best football of his whole career. Fully established at both club and international level, the No.11's confidence and excellent form makes him a constant danger that rivals constantly struggle to contain -- …