MX23RW : Saturday, July 31 11:07:06| >> :120:57995:57995:
Jul 19, 2020 at 4pm UK at Estadio de Mendizorroza
FT(HT: 0-3)
Fati (24'), Messi (34', 75'), Suarez (44'), Semedo (57')

Preview: Alaves vs. Barcelona - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's La Liga clash between Alaves and Barcelona, including team news and predicted lineups.

Barcelona, who conceded the La Liga title to Real Madrid on Thursday night, will round off their 2019-20 domestic campaign with a trip to Alaves on Sunday.

The Spanish champions will enter this weekend's clash off the back of a 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna, while Alaves recorded an impressive 2-1 victory away to Real Betis in their last match.

Match preview

Alaves forward Lucas Perez pictured in December 2019© Reuters

Alaves appear set for their lowest finish in La Liga since earning promotion back to the top flight at the end of the 2015-16 campaign, but the fact that they have not been relegated during a tough season is a huge positive.

Under the management of Juan Muniz until the end of the campaign, the Basque club have lost 18 of their 37 league matches this season to sit down in 15th position in the table.

El Glorioso cannot be relegated, though, as they sit four points clear of 18th-placed Leganes, with their survival guaranteed courtesy of an impressive 2-1 victory at Real Betis on Thursday night.

The win in Seville was actually their first success in Spain's top flight since June 18, while they have lost each of their last six league games against Barca, including a 4-1 defeat at Camp Nou back in December.

Barcelona captain Lionel Messi pictured on June 19, 2020© Reuters

Barca, meanwhile, as mentioned, will enter this match off the back of a shock 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna on Thursday night.

As it transpired, the result did not mean too much as Real Madrid's 2-1 home success over Villarreal ensured that Zinedine Zidane's side would win the title with a game to spare.

There is no question that it was still a desperately disappointing defeat for the club, though, and Lionel Messi aired his displeasure in the immediate aftermath.

Relinquishing control of the La Liga title will have seriously hurt the club, but they still have the Champions League to play for this season and will face Napoli in the second leg of their last-16 clash on August 8, with the tie delicately poised courtesy of a 1-1 draw in Italy back in February.

Barca have actually dropped points in 10 of their 18 away league matches this season, while they could finish the campaign as many as 10 points behind the champions, which would be a huge disappointment.

Alaves La Liga form: LLLLDW

Barcelona La Liga form: DDWWWL

Team News

Antoine Griezmann pictured on June 23, 2020© Reuters

Alaves will be without the services of Rodrigo Ely due to the red card that the central defender picked up against Betis last time out, while Ruben Duarte and Fernando Pacheco are both definitely out through injury.

The home side also have concerns over the fitness of Javier Lopez, Ximo Navarro and Ismael Gutierrez, but Martin Aguirregabiria will be back from the suspension that saw him miss out on Thursday.

Lucas Perez is set to return to the attack alongside Joselu, while Aleix Vidal and Tomas Pina are also expected to return in midfield positions for the home side.

As for Barca, Ousmane Dembele is again out with a long-term hamstring injury, while Antoine Griezmann and Samuel Umtiti are also likely to miss out with thigh and knee problems respectively.

The Catalan giants also have three players suspended in the shape of Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic and Junior Firpo, meaning that there could be a spot in central defence for Ronald Araujo.

Araujo, Ansu Fati and Riqui Puig have actually been prevented from turning out for Barcelona B in their Segunda Division playoff against Real Valladolid's B team this weekend as they are needed in the first team.

Sergio Busquets, Jordi Alba and Luis Suarez could all return to the starting XI, with Martin Braithwaite among those expected to drop out of the side.

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Jimenez; Aguirregabiria, Laguardia, Magallan, Marin; Mendez, Pina, Camarasa, Vidal; Joselu, Perez

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Semedo, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Puig, Busquets, Roberto; Fati, Suarez, Messi

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Alaves 0-2 Barcelona

This match does not have anything significant riding on it, but there is no question that Barca will be determined to return to winning ways following the disappointment of the Osasuna result. Alaves are capable of causing Quique Setien's side problems, but we are fully expecting an away victory here.

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Barcelona manager Quique Setien pictured on June 13, 2020
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United StatesUnited States16171245
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Great BritainGreat Britain891027
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Saturday's key events

· After silvers in both the men's and women's events, Team GB will be fancied to get on the podium again in the mixed relay (11.30pm-1am)

· Touted as Michael Phelps's successor, Caeleb Dressel already has two gold medals from these Games and he will be going for a third in the men's 50m butterfly final (2.30am)
· It is Katie Ledecky vs. Ariarne Titmus III in the women's 800m freestyle final, with Ledecky entering as firm favourite (2.46am)
· Great Britain will be heavily fancied to add another gold medal to their swimming haul, having produced by far the fastest qualifying time for the mixed 4x100m medley relay final (3.43am)

· Dina Asher-Smith is one of three British women in the 100m semi-finals (3.01am-3.20am), and will hope to challenge for a medal in what is likely to be a star-studded final (1.50pm)
· The inaugural Olympic 4x400m mixed relay event concludes with Great Britain one of the eight finalists going for gold (1.35pm)

· Team GB's dreams of an unlikely gold are still alive in the women's event as they face France in their semi-final (3.30am). The winners will face either New Zealand or Fiji in the gold medal match later in the day (10am)

· Gold medals are up for grabs in the windsurfer - RS:X finals. Emma Wilson participates for Team GB in the women's final (6.33am), while Tom Squires is in action in the men's (7.33am)

· Following his shock semi-final defeat, ending his hopes of a Golden Slam in 2021, Novak Djokovic battles for bronze against Pablo Carreno Busta (7am)
· The women's singles event reaches its conclusion with the gold medal match between Belinda Bencic and Marketa Vondrousova

> Today's schedule in full
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