Alavés will host Barcelona at the Estadio Mendizorrotza in the final game of Saturday’s Spanish La Liga action.
Alaves have had a bit of a rough start to the season with two wins from their opening seven league matches, leaving them just two points clear off the relegation zone. While it may be too early to look at the league table, Boss Pablo Machin will know that an improvement in results is required if they’re to make the steady climb up the table.
Alavés picked up a solid 2-0 win over Valladolid last weekend with veteran midfielder Tomas Pina putting in a man of the match display to guide his team to securing all three points. Alaves defended resolutely and broke on the counter multiple times to great effect and Machin will be hoping for a repeat performance from his men especially defensively but must know the odds are firmly stacked against them coming up against a fully motivated Barcelona side.
Barcelona are back in domestic action and on that front, come into this fixture on the back of a disappointing El Clasico defeat to Real Madrid last weekend. Barcelona pegged Real Madrid back through young winger Ansu Fati after Los Blancos had taken the lead through midfielder Federico Valverde but things went left rather controversially as Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet was adjudged to have fouled Sergio Ramos in the box and VAR awarded the penalty, one which Madrid captain Sergio Ramos tucked away confidently before a late Luka Modric goal sealed the win for Madrid.
That defeat, however damaging, was softened by what happened in the following days with the unpopular president Josep Maria Bartomeu announcing his resignation. Barcelona traveled to Turin on Wednesday to play Juventus and were brilliant, strolling to a 2-0 win. Desperate to get back to winning ways domestically, Ronald Koeman will have his men fired up as they chase all three points.
Alavés – Alavés will be without defensive midfielder Pere Pons, out with a foot injury with an expected return date sometime in December. There was a minor injury concern over Florian Lejeune last week that had Victor Laguardia available to take his spot but otherwise have a strong squad to choose from.
Possible Alavés XI – Pacheco, Navarro, Laguardia, Lejuene, Duarte, Mendez, Pina, Battaglia, Jota, Joselu, Perez.
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Barcelona – The Blaugrana Boss Ronald Koeman will be without Phil Coutinho (hamstring injury ) and Samuel Umtiti still isn’t as fit to play at the weekend while goalkeeper Marc Ter Stegen remains out of the goalpost, leaving Neto to continue at the far end of Barça’s half. Teenage protégé Ansu Fati will start alongside Messi in attacking position and possibly Antoine Griezmann.
Possible Barça XI – Neto, Dest, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Frenkie, Pjanic, Dembele, Messi, Fati, Griezmann.
- Barça have won the last nine of ten meetings against Alavés
- The last time both teams played goalless was back in 2005, since then every match has given an average two goals.
- Deportivo Alavés hold the worst goal scoring record in the league along with Elche and Celta.
The head to head stats between both teams suggest a very easy win for The Catalans. They have the momentum and should win this comfortably. A goal drought should be easily avoided though both sides cannot be termed as free scoring but backing Barcelona to score two goals should come in hitch-free.