PREVIEW | Alavés v FC Barcelona

PREVIEW | Alavés v FC Barcelona

Barça travel to Vitoria looking to extend their run of consecutive wins against an opponent that haven’t won at home against the Catalans in six matches

Unusually for a fixture between the teams, they both begin Saturday’s LaLiga fixture on the same points, separated only by goal difference.

Pablo Machín has never beaten Barça as a coach, with the Basque side also winless in the last six matches at home against the blaugranes, it will be another tall order.

The Opposition

Back in the early part of the last century, the team known as Sport Friends decided to form an official society and on January 23, 1921, Deportivo Alavés was formed.

The Babazorros (bean-sacks, so called because people from the region would allegedly eat beans with everything) are currently owned by Saski Baskonia (70.44% shareholding) and José Antonio Querejeta (6.4% shareholding).

The 2020/21 season is their 16th in the Spanish top flight and they currently find themselves in 15thposition in the table after a stop-start campaign to this point.

The Venue

Mendizorrotza was opened on 27 April 1924, and is currently the third oldest football stadium in Spanish professional football behind El Molinón and Mestalla. 

During its history, the stadium has had several renovations. The most important one was the expansion in 1999, which saw the corners filled in and the capacity of the stadium increased to the current 19,840 as a result.

A plan, announced in 2016, to modernise the stadium again was postponed for at least a year in 2020 because of the economic problems caused by the coronavirus pandemic. 

The players

Almost all the activity during the close season at Alavés involved players returning from loan or being loaned. The only sales were Bosnian Ermedin Demirović to Freiburg and Ghanaian Patrick Twumasi to Hannover, while the only new faces are Deyverson on loan from Palmeiras and Rodrigo Battaglia on loan from Sporting.

65% of the goals last season came from the boots of Joselu and Lucas Pérez, and they are again the main men to watch out for in the Alavés attack.

Form Guide

Alavés W L D W L D
Barça W L W L D W

Head to head

Of the nine games that the teams have played against each other in LaLiga, eight have been won by Barça and the other by Alavés. There has never been a draw between the two teams.

Alavés’ solitary victory came at Camp Nou in September 2016, and in six of the other eight matches, the Basques have failed to score. Barça’s biggest win over Alavés came on November 2, 2017 (0-6), closely followed by last season’s final match of the season (0-5).

Team news

For this match, Ronaldo Koeman has named a 21-man squad with Piqué returning after missing the Champions League game in midweek due to suspension. Out due to injury are Ter Stegen, Coutinho and Umtiti.

The full list is: Dest, Piqué, Sergio, Aleñá, Griezmann, Pjanic, Braithwaite, Messi, O. Dembélé, Neto, Lenglet, Pedri, Trincao, Jordi Alba, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Ansu Fati, Junior, Iñaki Peña, Konrad and Arnau Tenas. 

Did you know?

Barcelona have won their last seven LaLiga games against Alavés, keeping a clean sheet in five of those and scoring an average of 3.4 goals per game since a 1-2 loss in September 2016.

At Mendizorrotza, Alavés are winless in their last six LaLiga games against Barcelona (D2 L4), failing to score in all of those; they had only failed to score in one of their previous nine home games against the Blaugranas in the competition.

Barcelona have only won three of their last seven trips to Basque Country in LaLiga (D3 L1), after winning their previous seven in the competition.

After beating Real Valladolid 2-0 in their last LaLiga game, Alavés are looking to win back to back games in the competition for the first time since November 2019.

Barcelona have lost their last two LaLiga games, against Getafe and Real Madrid, and they haven’t lost three in a row in the competition since April 2016 under Luis Enrique.

Barcelona have conceded the first goal of the game in three LaLiga games this season and are winless in all those matches (D1 L2).

Alavés’ Lucas Pérez has failed to score in his last 15 LaLiga appearances, his second-worst run failing to score in the competition. However, he has been involved in four goals in his last seven LaLiga games against Barcelona (three goals and one assist).

In the last game against Real Valladolid, Alavés’s Borja Sainz became the second fastest substitute player to score a goal in LaLiga this season (53 seconds), after Huesca’s Sandro Ramírez, also against Valladolid (20 seconds).

Barcelona’s Lionel Messi has scored 10 goals in his nine LaLiga games against Alavés and scored two goals and provided an assist on his last trip at Mendizorrotza in the competition, last July.

Alavés’ Pablo Machín has lost all four of his managerial LaLiga games against Barcelona and the Catalans are the opponent Machin has faced most often while losing 100% of his matches. 

Força Barça
Força Barça

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