MX23RW : Monday, April 19 11:56:57| >> :60:23:23:
Feb 13, 2021 at 8pm UK at Camp Nou
BarcelonaBarcelona
5-1
AlavesAlaves
Trincao (29', 74'), Messi (45+1', 75'), Firpo (80')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Rioja (57')
Aguirregabiria (17'), Tachi (53')

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

Sports Mole previews Saturday's La Liga clash between Barcelona and Alaves, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Barcelona will be looking to bounce back from Wednesday's Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg defeat to Sevilla when they continue their La Liga campaign at home to Alaves on Saturday night.

The Catalan outfit have work to do if they are to turn their Copa del Rey last-four tie around, but Ronald Koeman's side have recently been in impressive form in the league, winning each of their last six matches.


Match preview

Barcelona's Lionel Messi takes a free kick during the La Liga clash with Real Betis on February 7, 2021© Reuters

Goals from Jules Kounde and Ivan Rakitic saw Sevilla record a 2-0 win over Barca in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final on Wednesday night, leaving Koeman's side with a tough task ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou, which is not until the start of March.

The Catalan giants have a lot of football to play before the second leg, including the first leg of their last-16 Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain next week, while they will also face Alaves, Cadiz, Elche and Sevilla in the league before the end of February.

Barca are actually unbeaten in the league since the start of December, winning each of their last six, including a 3-2 success away to Real Betis last weekend, which moved them onto 43 points from 21 matches.

Koeman's side are currently third in the table but are only three points behind second-placed Real Madrid and have a game in hand over the reigning champions. That said, Atletico Madrid are eight points clear of Barca at the top of the division and also have a game in hand, which shows their strength at the summit.

The Catalan giants have won seven of their last eight league games with Alaves, but the points were shared in a 1-1 draw when they locked horns in the reverse match at the end of October.

Alaves coach Abelardo Fernandez pictured on January 23, 2021© Reuters

Alaves, meanwhile, will enter this weekend's contest off the back of a huge 1-0 win over Real Valladolid last weekend, with Joselu scoring the only goal of the game in the second period.

The victory was the Basque side's first in La Liga since the end of December, but they are still very much in the relegation mix, sitting 16th in the table, just two points above the bottom three.

Alaves are actually in their fifth straight campaign at this level of football and finished ninth in 2016-17 as they made a strong impression in their first La Liga season since 2006.

El Glorioso ended the 2019-20 campaign in 16th position, though, and it does appear that they will face a serious battle to retain their top-flight status for at least another season.

Abelardo's side will be the huge underdogs to triumph this weekend, but the manner of their performance against Barca in the reverse match earlier this season will hand them confidence.

Barcelona La Liga form: WWWWWW
Barcelona form (all competitions): WWWWWL

Alaves La Liga form: LLLLDW
Alaves form (all competitions): LLLLDW


Team News

Barcelona's Jordi Alba celebrates with Lionel Messi after the Copa del Rey clash with Granada on February 3, 2021© Reuters

Barca will again be without the services of Ansu Fati, Gerard Pique, Philippe Coutinho, Sergi Roberto, Ronald Araujo and Martin Braithwaite for this game, while Miralem Pjanic and Sergino Dest are both doubts.

Clement Lenglet should replace Samuel Umtiti at the back following the clash with Sevilla, but Koeman is expected to resist the temptation to make wholesale changes.

Barca face PSG next week in the Champions League, but Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele should all start on Saturday, with Trincao likely to be involved from the bench in the second half.

As for Alaves, Rodrigo Ely is still unavailable for selection, but the visitors are otherwise in strong shape heading into the contest, with Victor Laguardia fit to start in the middle of the defence.

Head coach Abelardo is expected to keep faith with the majority of the side that started the win over Valladolid, meaning that Joselu should again be joined by Lucas Perez in the final third of the field.

On-loan Manchester United attacker Facundo Pellistri was an unused substitute last time out, and the Uruguayan youngster will be hoping to make his debut in this game.

Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Dest, Mingueza, Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Griezmann, Messi, Dembele

Alaves possible starting lineup:
Pacheco; Navarro, Laguardia, Lejeune, Duarte; Mendez, Garcia, Pina, Rioja; Perez, Joselu


SM words green background

We say: Barcelona 2-0 Alaves

Barca will be determined to bounce back from the loss to Sevilla, and we are finding it difficult to back anything other than a home win. Alaves secured an impressive result against Valladolid last weekend, but we are expecting Koeman's side to pick up all three points to continue their strong run in La Liga.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a home win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home Win:data


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Alaves coach Abelardo Fernandez pictured on January 23, 2021
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Todays Game Header Right
Tables
TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
1Atletico MadridAtletico31217357203770
2Real Madrid31207453242967
3Barcelona30205569264365
4Sevilla31204746252164
5Villarreal311213648341449
6Real Betis31146114245-348
7Real Sociedad311211848331547
8Granada30116133650-1439
9Levante31911113844-638
10Celta Vigo31911114148-738
11Athletic Bilbao30910113933637
12Osasuna31910122736-937
13CadizCadiz3199132745-1836
14Valencia31811123944-535
15Getafe31710142234-1231
16AlavesAlaves3169162547-2227
17Huesca31512143146-1527
18Real Valladolid30512132741-1427
19ElcheElche31511152748-2126
20EibarEibar31411162241-1923

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