Following a convincing 2-0 win on away soil against Juventus last Wednesday, FC Barcelona are set to face Deportivo Alavés tonight. It’s also the occasion to rest players ahead of the home clash against Dynamo Kiev and later the match against Real Betis. With Coutinho and Araujo unavailable, Koeman cannot count on all his players, while Riqui has been left out for “technical reasons”. Barcelona have to confirm the winning ways to ensure that the Getafe & Clasico defeat are past the team’s mind.
D.Alavés last five matches: LWDLW
D.Alavés-Athletic Club: 1-0
Alavés are 15th and haven’t been too inspiring so far. Though they do have dangerous players in Lucas Perez & Jota, it’s fair to say that they aren’t the worthiest opponents. However, they can prove to be dangerous against highlines thanks to quick counter-attacks. Having tall players allows them to excell in aeriel duels. They shouldn’t be taken lightly in anyway, but a win against them shouldn’t be too much to ask.
Barcelona’s last 5 matches: DLWLW
On the other hand, Barcelona. Koeman and the team went through troubling times, particularly against Sevilla and Getafe. A shameful loss at home against the eternal rival Madrid didn’t help either. However, things have been brighter since. Two European wins, including away from home at Juventus helped the team get back on track. Multiple individual performances have been encouraging, notably Pedri and Dembele along Dest as well. Barcelona need to kill the match off early, in order to limit possibilities of a possible come back. Especially, the team needs to confirm it has the spirit and the mentality needed in order to compete at the highest level.
Falling in the trap of going into Alavés’ game of aerial prowess should definitely be something FC Barcelona should try avoid. Instead, Koeman should try to kill the game from the wings with players like Dembele and Dest or rely on the creativity from midfielders with the likes of Pedri.