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Match Previews

Deportivo Alavés vs Barcelona: team news, possible XIs, score prediction and match facts in La Liga round 38 preview

Everything you need to know ahead of the match between Alavés and Barcelona at Mendizorroza

Hariharan Balaji

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Header Image by Denis Doyle via Getty Images

Real Madrid won the La Liga title last matchday, beating Villarreal with Barça further assisting them by losing to Osasuna. Now, the final matchday of the season is nothing but moot for the Catalans in terms of competition. But, there are a lot of things they have to change at least for the sake of the fans. Here’s the preview of the match between Deportivo Alavés and Barcelona. 


Date and kick-off time: Sunday 19 July 2020, 16:00 CET

Stadium: Mendizorrotza Stadium

Competition: La Liga, matchday 38

Referee: Juan Martinez Munuera


Overview

The result of the title race has been lucid for some time now even before Real Madrid mathematically secured it in the last game. Barcelona’s inconsistent form since the restart gradually made them lose ground in the battle. Still, it was not over yet, and in football, there is always hope. But, the way Barça came out to play against Osasuna, on home turf, said it all.

The hosts, as usual, had the bulk of the possession doing the same predictable passing with Osasuna’s defence unaffected by it. The visitors had a medium block, waited patiently to strike on the break and in transitions. After the punishing goal from former Barça man Arnaiz, the hosts barely turned up with the dangerous chances coming only from Messi’s set-pieces. With everyone up the pitch, Osasuna countered in the closing minutes to kill off the game.

“You cannot convince me that the situation is disastrous. We deserved to win in many games that slipped out of our hand. We have to improve, but you have to notice the things that have changed”

Quique Setién

The performance was unquestionably not the way to close off the last game in the Camp Nou in La Liga. The reaction of Messi after scoring the freekick said it all. But, right now, it is time to improve so Barça can be better when they face Napoli in the Champions League on August 8. Because like the captain said, if Barcelona play like this vs Napoli, there are little chances of going through, despite having the away goal.

Right now, the Catalans travel to Vitoria-Gasteiz to face relegation-safe Deportivo Alavés. Like Barcelona, they have nothing to play for after having secured their place in next season’s La Liga. With a win here, Barça can not only get back to winning ways but will have won three consecutive away games.

What to expect from Deportivo Alavés?

The hosts struggled for the most of the season in the bottom half dangling by the relegation zone. Their current manager Juan Ramón López Muñiz took over the reins only this month. The hosts were on disastrous form losing five consecutive games with the 6-0 thumping from Celta Vigo starting the streak. The new manager took over with a defeat to Champions elect Real Madrid(now) but confirmed their position with a draw and win. 

It has only been a couple of weeks and three matchdays since the new gaffer took over. So, it is hard to predict how the team plays. Alavés have been lining up in a 4–4–2 formation in the three games Muñiz has managed with two strikers upfront. Joselu and Lucas Pérez are generally the two, with each capable to troubling the backline. 

Barça could also see a familiar face in Aleix Vidal who was at the Camp Nou for a couple of years before moving away. The hosts have a few injury setbacks with Rubén Duarte, Fernando Pacheco confirmed out and Ximo Navarro doubtful. Rodrigo Ely serves his ban after getting a late red card vs Real Betis in the last matchday. They don’t have anything to play for in this game but would love to get one over a troubled Barça team. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

From the start of the campaign, Barcelona were far from convincing. They have been shaky throughout the campaign and hardly showed any promise to retain the title once the season restarted. Barcelona’s problems range right from the board, down to the players on the pitch. However, there is no point in blaming and pointing hands right now as the season is yet to complete with Champions League looming.

Ansu Fati Alavés Barcelona match preview

Ansu Fati, Riqui Puig and Ronald Araújo will play against Alavés and will not take part in Barça B’s play-offs for promotion to the Second Division | Photo by Jorge Guerrero / AFP via Getty Images

The Catalans are in dire need of a complete performance to raise the spirits ahead of the Napoli game. But, they are out of their depth in terms of personnel available for this game. Quique Setién, much to his displeasure, could not fill the squad list for the game with only 16 players making the travel sheet. Three first-team players, Gerard Piqué, Ivan Rakitić, and Junior Firpo, are out of the game due to accumulation of five yellow cards. 

Arthur Melo once again joins the injury list alongside Dembélé, Umtiti and Griezmann. All these exclusions leave only 12 first team members alongside four youth players. Setién has only two outfield players to sub in during the game. With this thinned out squad, there are not many expectations for a spectacular performance, but a win would do so many favours.


Form

Deportivo Alavés

Last 5 games: 

Real Betis 1–2 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga
Deportivo Alavés 0–0 Getafe | La Liga
Real Madrid 2–0 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga
Real Valladolid 1–0 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga
Deportivo Alavés 0–2 Granada | La Liga

Position in La Liga

15th
39 points in 37 games
10 wins, 9 draws and 18 losses
34 Goals Scored, 54 Goals Conceded
–20 Goal Difference

FC Barcelona

Last 5 games: LWWWD

Barcelona 1–2 Osasuna | La Liga
Real Valladolid 0–1 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 1–0 Espanyol | La Liga
Villarreal 1–4 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 2–2 Atlético de Madrid | La Liga

Position in La Liga

2nd 
79 points in 37 games
24 wins, 7 draws and 6 losses
81 Goals Scored, 38 Goals Conceded
+43 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Barcelona 4–1 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga, 19/20
Deportivo Alavés 0–2 Barcelona | La Liga, 19/18
Barcelona 3–0 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga, 19/18
Barcelona 2–1 Deportivo Alavés | La Liga, 17/18
Deportivo Alavés 0–2 Barcelona | La Liga, 17/18


Match facts

• Barcelona have won their last 7 matches against Deportivo Alaves in all competitions.

• Barcelona have kept a clean sheet in their last 7 away matches against Deportivo Alaves in all competitions.

• Barcelona are undefeated in their last 5 away matches (LaLiga).

• Deportivo Alaves have failed to score in their last 3 home matches (LaLiga).


Team news and possible line-ups

Deportivo Alavés

Absences

Injured: Rubén Duarte, Fernando Pacheco, Ximo Navarro
Suspended: Rodrigo Ely

Possible line-up

4–4–2
Roberto Jiménez
Aguirregabiria · Lisandro Magallan· Victor Laguardia · Marin
Vidal · Garcia · Camarasa · Borja Sainz
Lucas Pérez · Joselu
Coach: Juan Ramón López Muñiz

Iván Rakitić Alavés Barcelona match preview

Iván Rakitić, Gerard Piqué and Junior Firpo will all miss Barça’s game through suspension | Photo by Imago

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Ousmane Dembélé (hamstring), Samuel Umtiti (knee), Antonie Griezmann (aductor), Arthur Melo (ankle)
Suspended: Gerard Piqué, Ivan Rakitić, Junior Firpo

Possible line-up

4–3–3
Ter Stegen
Sergi Roberto · Araújo · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
Arturo Vidal · Busquets · de Jong
Messi · Suárez · Ansu Fati
Coach: Quique Setién


Predictions

The result of this game matters very little to the overall scheme of things. Neither team requires a result here to make a significant change to their current situation in the league. Both clubs will look forward to finishing their La Liga campaign on a high. The writer’s prediction for the game: 2–1 win for the Catalans.


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I got into watching football for the emotions of it. A goal followed by a crazy celebration from the player gave me goosebumps. But, watching the beautiful game over the years, I realised it was much more than just goals. The passing, the movements, the positioning and the effort involved behind the scenes opened my eyes to what football was. I keep trying to learn more about this incredible game and pass on what I learnt with a tinge of passion attached to it.

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Match Previews

A preview of Barça’s first game of the season against Villareal

Hariharan Balaji

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Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

With already two matchdays completed in La Liga, Barça kick off their campaign on the third against the Yellow Submarine. The Catalans begin their title charge under new manager, Ronald Koeman, at the Camp Nou. Here’s the preview of the match between Barcelona and Villarreal. 


Date and kick-off time: Sunday 27 September 2020, 21:00 CET

Stadium: Camp Nou

Competition: La Liga, matchday 3

Referee: Guillermo Cuadra Fernández


Overview

A new season with a new manager and a partially renewed squad, Barcelona once again try to gloss over the cracks of the previous disappointing season for the third time in a row. In a bid to reduce the overarching wage bill, Barcelona have let go of some of their top-earning veterans for peanuts. Ivan Rakitić, Arturo Vidal, and Luis Suárez have left the club almost for free with significant earnings on the sale of Nelson Semedo. 

Apart from the already agreed transfers and players returning from loan, Barça are yet to complete a signing this window. They are unlikely to do so before the start of the game for the player to be eligible to play. While the numbers in attack and midfield are overwhelming, albeit the absence of different profiles, the defence remains understaffed and underwhelming. 

In contrast to Barcelona, their visitors have built upon their successful season by backing their new manager with excellent signings. Villarreal have dealt with the departures of several key players and have replaced them economically and efficiently. 

With an unusually short pre-season, both the new managers have had little time to implement their ideas and stamp their authority on the team. Will be an intriguing matchup considering that the match is at Camp Nou but without the fans. 

What to expect from Barcelona?

Ronald Koeman has made it clear with the three pre-season games that 4-2-3-1 is the way forward under his stewardship. The Dutchman has been straightforward with the players about his plans. He has also stated that he intends to field the players in their best positions as much as possible. So, both Frenkie de Jong and Antonie Griezmann will likely get their favoured spots.

The shift to the new formation has its pros and cons. The Mediapunta role benefits some of the central players of the squad to have more authority in the attack. But, with one less man in midfield and the double-pivot being flat ends in the defence reeling if the opponents break the first press to counter. Koeman must find a solution to this before stronger sides in La Liga exploit Barça in this regard. 

The Catalans are without the services of Marc-André ter Stegen who is out till October with Neto filling in between the sticks. Martin Braithwaite is also out with a minor injury. The defence has further weakened with no proper right back in the squad ending in Sergi Roberto once again filling in. Samuel Umtiti situation is still unclear with the club keen to offload the injury-prone Frenchman. 

What to expect from Villarreal?

Unai Emery’s Villarreal have already played two games this season drawing one and winning another. Despite a successful last season, Javier Calleja was relieved of his duties, which was quite vague. But, they have appointed a more experienced and a proven winner in Emery and backed him with the players. On paper, they look like a team to keep an eye on this season in La Liga. 

Emery has changed the system to a 4-4-2 with new signings Dani Parejo and Francis Coquelin slotting in the midfield. Chukwueze and Moi Gomez flank the two with the impressive Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer upfront. New signing Pervis Estupiñán might fill in at left-back after earning the move with an excellent debut season in La Liga. 

Last season’s Zarra trophy winner Moreno has hit the ground running with two goals in two games. Dani Parejo is trying to adjust to new surroundings in Villarreal after almost spending his entire senior career at Valencia. The experienced Raul Albiol is a doubt for the clash with a broken nose. Still unbeaten under Emery, the Yellow Submarine would love to extend the run and make a dent to the host’s start to the campaign. 


Form

FC Barcelona

Previous games: WWW

Barcelona 1–0 Elche | Joan Gamper Trophy
Barcelona 3–1 Girona | Club Friendly
Barcelona 3–1 Gimnastic| Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

16th 
0 points in 0 games
0 wins, 0 draws and 0 losses
0 Goals Scored, 0 Goals Conceded
0 Goal Difference

Villarreal CF

Previous games: WDLWL

Villarreal 2–1 Eibar | La Liga
Villarreal 1–1 Huesca | La Liga
Villarreal 1–2 Levante | Club Friendly
Real Sociedad 0–2 Villarreal | Club Friendly
Valencia 2–1 Villarreal | Club Friendly

Position in La Liga

5th
4 points in 2 games
2 wins, 1 draw and 0 losses
3 Goals Scored, 2 Goals Conceded
+1 Goal Difference

Head-to-head record

Last 5 meetings

Villarreal 1–4 Barcelona | La Liga, 19/20
Barcelona 2–1 Villarreal | La Liga, 19/20
Villarreal 4–4 Barcelona | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 2–0 Villarreal | La Liga, 18/19
Barcelona 5–1 Villarreal | La Liga, 17/18


Match facts

• Barcelona have won their last 10 home matches against Villarreal in all competitions.

• There have been over 2.5 goals scored in 6 of Villarreal’s last 7 games (LaLiga).

• Barcelona are undefeated in 11 of their last 12 matches (LaLiga).

• Barcelona have scored at least 2 goals in their last 10 home matches against Villarreal in all competitions. 


Team news and possible line-ups

FC Barcelona

Absences

Injured: Samuel Umtiti (knee), Marc-André ter Stegen (Tendon), Braithwaite
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–2–3–1
Neto
Roberto · Piqué · Lenglet · Jordi Alba
Frenkie de Jong · Busquets
Coutinho
Messi · Griezmann · Fati
Coach: Ronald Koeman

Villarreal CF

Absences

Injured: Alberto Moreno, Ramiro Guerra, Rubén Peña, Raúl Albiol
Suspended: None

Possible line-up

4–4–2
Asenjo
Gaspar · Ramiro Funes Mori · Pau Torres · Pervis Estupiñán
Chukwueze · Coquelin · Parejo · Moi Gomes
Gerard Moreno · Paco Alcacer
Coach: Unai Emery


Predictions

Barcelona’s and Ronald Koeman’s first official game of the season is far from easy. Villarreal are a top side in the Spanish top flight, and a positive result in this game could set them in the right path. While the defence still seems precarious, the attack has improved and might be enough to get them over the line in this game. The writer’s prediction: 3-1 win for the Catalans. 

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