Barcelona welcome struggling Alaves for a La Liga showdown at the Camp Nou on Saturday at 8pm (UK time).
Ronald Koeman’s men are looking to extend their current winning streak while Alaves, who sit perilously above the drop zone, will be hoping to frustrate the Catalan giants.
How to live stream Barcelona vs Alaves online:
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Where to watch Barcelona vs Alaves on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: beIN SPORTS
Scoreline prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Alaves
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Barcelona vs Alaves build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
After stumbling in the early stages of his tenure (going on a four-game winless streak at one point) Ronald Koeman has Barcelona back on track. They go into this weekend’s game on an 11-match unbeaten run in the league and have won their last six fixtures on the bounce. Consequently, they now find themselves sitting third and three points behind arch-rivals Real Madrid, with a game in hand over Los Blancos. Koeman’s side were beaten in Copa del Rey in midweek by Sevilla, losing the first leg away from home, but their form at Camp Nou has been good. Since defeat to Real Madrid in October, they’ve picked up five wins from seven at home and will fancy their chances of claiming another success.
Barça’s visitors haven’t exactly been pulling up any trees, sitting just two points above the relegation zone. Before a 1-0 win over Real Valladolid last time out, Alaves went on a five-game winless run which included four successive losses. On the road they’ve been performing below average; heading into their Camp Nou examination Alaves have only secured two wins from 10 played away from home, suffering five losses. However, one of their victories came at La Liga champions Real Madrid when they ran out 2-1 winners in late November.
- Barcelona (vs Sevilla): Ter Stegen; Firpo, Mingueza, Umtiti, Alba; Busquets, De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann.
- Alaves (vs Real Valladolid): Pacheco; Navarro, Tachi, Lejeune, Duarte; Méndez, García, Pina, Rioja; Pérez, Joselu.
Koeman has a number of players out this weekend. Martin Braithwaite, Miralem Pjanic, Sergino Dest, Ronald Araujo, Sergi Roberto, Philippe Coutinho, Gerard Piqué and Ansu Fati are ruled out. Rodrigo Ely is the only absentee for the visitors.
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Players to watch:
- Barcelona: It’s been an unusual season for the man so many consider football’s best. Heading into the 23rd round of fixtures Lionel Messi is firmly in the chase to be crowned top scorer (he’s just three strikes behind former teammate Luis Suárez). However, the Argentine playmaker has created just two goals despite having an Expected Assist value (xA) of 6.56 which is the biggest difference between assists and xA in Spain’s top division this season (4.56). That aside, Barça’s number 10 enjoys facing Alavés as he’s netted in seven of his 10 league matches against them (10 goals), also worth noting Messi has scored at least once in each of his previous three meetings with the Basque side at Camp Nou.
- Alaves: Given that Koeman’s side are now riding on a wave of momentum, in the league at least, it’s going to be a tough ask for Alavés to get something from this game. But in Joselu they’ve got someone who is somewhat on a roll heading into this fixture. The 30-year-old striker, who previously made just one league appearance for Barça’s arch-rivals Real Madrid, has scored three goals across his last five league outings, as many as he managed in his previous 22 games in the competition. It’s also worth pointing out that Barcelona, despite being unbeaten in their last five home league games, have only kept two clean sheets and failed to shut out the opposition in each of their previous four outings.
La Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Barcelona: WWWWW
- Alaves: WDLLL
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