Barcelona began the month of February with an 11-point cushion over Atletico Madrid at the top of La Liga but have seen that advantage reduce to just seven following two consecutive draws against Espanyol and Getafe.
The change of shape and greater balance the Barca team now boasts has also benefited their backline, with the defence receiving more protection than they had been previously.
Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez still stood out, the Argentine picking out the Uruguayan for the opening goal in the first half - his 22nd assist for his fellow South American forward. Their European dream is very much alive since they are just one point adrift Sevilla for a UEFA Europa League berth, and their current form suggests they are on the right track as well thanks to a four-game undefeated run. However they cast off their shackles with an exciting attacking display to defeat Copenhagen 4-1 away from home in the Europa League showing that when they put their mind to attack, they can do so.
Eibar are without injured pair Seri Enrich and Fran Rico and defender Paulo Oliveira is doubtful. "Eibar have been on a good run and we are happy to come through with another win". "They want you to play like they do, they start games well and we will have to adapt to the situation, the size of the pitch and their style above all". Will they be able to take home the three points even if they rest some of their key players?
Gerard Pique is back from injury after sitting out the game against Getafe, while Thomas Vermaelen is doubtful.
Ousmane Dembele (stomach) is doubtful, but will likely play.
But having passed their Eibar exam, Tuesday's trip to Stamford Bridge represents an altogether tougher test for Valverde's side.
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Record-signing Phillipe Coutinho replaced the legendary Andres Iniesta in the 62nd minute, with the latter receiving a standing ovation. He has won 36, drawn 24 and lost 39 so far.
Last weekend saw a typical Atletico Madrid performance: an early goal away to Malaga, followed by 89 minutes of defensive solidity to claim their eighth 1-0 win of the season.
They are provisionally fifth, three points behind Real Madrid in fourth but having played two games more.
Barcelona have a flawless record against Eibar, having scored 26 goals in their previous seven meetings.
The head-to-head record gives Barcelona quite an edge.
They need to get a statement win to show they are not going to let go of the top position in the standings any time soon.
"I'm happy to score".