Match Preview: Alaves vs Barcelona
Matchday: Matchday 8
Date and Time: Saturday, Oct 31st, 9 pm CET
Venue: Estadio de Mendizorroza.
After securing an excellent win over Italian giants, Juventus in Champions League back in Wednesday, Barcelona will be looking forward to keeping the form going in Laliga. Koeman’s side has been on an excellent run in Champions League, but in League, they haven’t managed to be at the same level.
Barcelona is currently at 12th position in League table with 7 points from 5 games played. They were brilliant in opening few games but has been disappointed lately as they managed to get only one point from the last three games. Alaves are currently at 15th position with 7 points from 7 games played.
Alaves are in considerably good form in League as they managed to win two of their last three games including a 2-0 win away to Real Valladolid.
This game will be crucial for Koeman as they need to seal victory to make sure Barcelona are fighting for the League after suffering 3-1 defeat to the Spanish giants Real Madrid back in matchday 7.
Real Sociedad are currently at 1st position in the League with 14 points, But Barcelona has two games in hand as they have played two games less than the leaders. With the win at Estadio de Mendizorroza, they can manage to climb on the League position.
“Barcelona are one of the best teams in the world.”
Alaves striker Joselu Mato talked about facing Barcelona. He believes the game is a tough one, but with a tough mentality, he believes Alaves can overcome Barcelona at their home.
“In terms of players and economically they are solid, [it will be] difficult to match their level, but with work, you can make the most of it. They are not invincible, and you can win,” Joselu said.
“I’m sure that [the coach, Pablo Machin] will have an ace up his sleeve; they are games that are analysed a lot, and we know the difficulty of the game with speedy players up top. Also, we will have to cover up [Lionel] Messi’s passes to the wingers so that we do not get caught in behind our full-backs. It will be a tough match.”
HEAD TO HEAD
This will be the 24th meeting of Alaves and Barcelona. Barcelona has managed to win 17 games, Alaves has won 4 games and two games ended in a draw. Alaves has lost each of the last seven league game against Barcelona.
Barcelona’s elite keeper Marc Andre Ter Stegen has started training, but he is still in the recovery phase, so, Neto will start as usual. Gerard Pique had missed the UCL fixture against Juventus due to suspension; he will be coming into this game as a starter.
Lenglet will pair alongside him as usual; Ronald Araujo won’t feature in this game as he as picked up a thigh Injury in the match against Juventus and was subbed at half time. Umtiti is yet to be in the proper form, so, it is unlikely that he will be in the squad list in the game against Alaves.
Jordi Alba started in both El Clasico and the Champions League after returning from injury; he will possibly start against Alaves as well; Koeman still doesn’t count on Firpo. In the right-back position, Koeman might give a chance to Sergino Dest, but Roberto did a decent job against Juventus So, he might go with Roberto again.
In the midfield, Coutinho is still out with injury; Pedri might get to start again after showcasing excellent quality when Barcelona faced Juventus in Turin.
Considering the tempo of that fixture, the pressure and his age, Pedri showed the world the kind of maturity he has and received lots of praise for his performances, including those from Italian Media.
Pjanic was excellent against Juventus as well, but Busquets will likely take up that role alongside De jong against Alaves.
Fati came on as a sub against Juventus; he will probably start against Alaves occupying the left-wing. Messi will start as CF again with variations in his role as per the game demands.
For RW, Dembele has the chance of starting again after showing good energy against Juventus.
Alaves La Liga form: LDLWLW
Barcelona La Liga form: WWDLL
Barcelona form (all competitions): WDLWLW
Alaves vs Barcelona: 0-3 win for Barcelona. Barcelona is not as vulnerable as they used to be in away games compared to previous seasons. Besides, Barcelona’s main man, Messi seems motivated after the resignation of Bartomeu and Co. I expect Barcelona to win with ease.