Barcelona are seeking a return to successful ways in La Liga when they host Osasuna at the Camp Nou on Saturday evening (17:30 UK time).
Barça have dropped five points across their last two league matches under Xavi which leaves them in eighth place on 24 points through 16 matches. Elche, meanwhile, are looking for their first league win over the Blaugrana since January 2014.
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Where to watch Barcelona vs Elche on TV:
- UK: Premier Sports 1
- US: ESPN+
Barcelona team news
Since replacing Ronald Koeman as Barça’s full-time boss Xavi has overseen four La Liga matches, winning his opening two fixtures, against city rivals Espanyol (1-0) and Villarreal (3-1) respectively, before hitting a brick wall. A narrow 0-1 home loss to Real Betis was followed up by a 2-2 stalemate at Osasuna which subsequently leaves the Catalan giants in eighth spot and five points outside the Champions League places. Their poor run under Koeman plus Xavi’s indfierent start means Barcelona have won six of their opening 16 games in La Liga which is their lowest return at this stage of the season in the competition since 2003/04 albeit they did go on to finish second that campaign. Last time out the midfield icon deployed a 3-3-3-1 formation, moving away from the 4-3-3 system initially used in his tenure, with a handful of key attacking players missing — notably Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati and potentially Ousmane Dembele — Xavi is expected to retain the much-maligned Dutch striker Luuk de Jong up top.
Barcelona predicted XI: Ter Stegen; Araujo, Pique, Garcia; González, Busquets, Gavi; Coutinho, Fd Jong, Ez Abde; Ld Jong.
Elche team news
The bad news for Elche is that Barcelona are unbeaten in their last 17 league meetings against them. You have to go back 47 years for Els Ilicitans‘ most recent win. Historical perspective aside, Elche have only won one of their previous nine La Liga games — positioning the club fifth from bottom and two points above the relegation places — which came against Cadiz on matchday 16 and they’ve only claimed one away success this season (0-1 at Getafe in September). On top of that Elche head coach Francisco Rodríguez, who’s only missing Pedro Bigas this weekend, is winless against Barcelona in his four La Liga meetings as a manager including his only previous Camp Nou visit in March 2014 when he was guiding Almería. He can still count on Lucas Perez who had a hand in three goals in his first two La Liga games at Camp Nou but has failed to score or provide an assist in his last three away league matches against Barça.
Elche predicted XI: Badia; Palacios, Roco, Gonzalez, Barragan; Fidel, Marcone, Mascarell, Morente; Perez, Boye.
La Liga 2021/22 recent form:
- Barcelona: DLWWD
- Elche: LWDLD
Scoreline prediction: Barcelona 3-0 Elche
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