Match preview: Alavés vs FC Barcelona

Match preview: Alavés vs FC Barcelona

Barça have a first chance to clinch the 2018/19 LaLiga title in the midweek Matchday 34, playing Alavés away (Tuesday, 9:30pm CEST) and waiting on Atlético Madrid's result on Wednesday.

The final midweek round of games in 2018/19 could prove to be the definitive matchday in the title chase, as FC Barcelona have their first chance to be crowned champions. Should the Blaugrana beat Alavés at Mendizorroza on Tuesday, and rivals Atlético Madrid lose to Valencia the following night, then they will clinch the title with four games to spare.

How to follow the game live

The game kicks off at 9:30pm CEST. A list of broadcasters can be found here, along with the starting times where you are.

Positive precedents

Previous visits to Vitoria have been successful for Barça, who have not conceded there in their last four games. Results have been mixed, with two wins and two draws. Under Ernesto Valverde, they have won all three encounters with Alavés.

From a perfect start - to a perfect finish?

A win on Matchday 34 could lead to Barça lifting the title, providing a curious bookend to the season: The first fixture between the two sides came back in August 2018 on the opening day of the campaign, when a brace from Leo Messi and a goal for Philippe Coutinho handed a 3-0 triumph to the home side at the Camp Nou.

The Opposition

Alavés have been something of a surprise package this season. Having staved off relegation in 2017/18 thanks to a tremendous turnaround, coinciding with the arrival of coach Abelardo, himself a former Barça player, they have built on that this season and have been involved in the battle for a Champions League spot. A recent dip in form has left them without a win in five games, but they remain contenders for European qualification.

Top LaLiga goalscorer: Jonathan Calleri (8)

Coach: Abelardo

Current LaLiga Form:

#1 Barça W D W D W

#8 Alavés L L D L D 

Team news 

Guillermo Maripán and Takashi Inui both have ankle injuries and will be doubts for Abelardo's team right up until the last minute. Barça boss Ernesto Valverde welcomes back Thomas Vermaelen after injury; full squad details right here

One to watch

Alavés attacker John Guidetti has scored three goals in his last five games against FC Barcelona in LaLiga.

Coaches' view

Abelardo: “We are still fighting for our objective....we have the chance to get into European competition." 

Ernesto Valverde: "Alavés are having a great season even if results have not gone their way recently."

 

Win and wait

Barça currently hold a 9-point lead over Atlético Madrid at the top of the LaLiga table. If Barça win against Alavés, a defeat for 'Los Colchoneros' against in-form Valencia CF on Wednesday night would give them the title.

 

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