Barcelona have a trip to Alaves next, the same team whom they will face in the finals of the Copa Del Rey. While on paper, the tie might look to be a lopsided one but Alaves have already shocked the Nou Camp outfit at the latter’s home and will be buzzing with confidence when they welcome Messi and Co.
Los Babazorros are coming off a 4-2 victory over bottom three squad Sporting Gijon on the road at the El Molinon Stadium last Sunday to snap a four-game winless slide. For Barcelona, this is a must-win match if they are to stay in contention for the title and hope to capitalise in the event that Real Madrid slip up. They are a point off the leaders but Real have a 2-game advantage over their bitter rivals.
The recent history between the two sides does not make for a good reading if you are a Barcelona fan but Messi and Co. will be fired up for this one and a Barca win looks a good bet.
- Barcelona have failed to score in each of their last three visits to Mendizorroza in La Liga (D2 L1), their worst current run without scoring away from home against a single opponent.
- However, the Catalonian side have scored in each of their last 14 league games, averaging three goals per game. The last time they failed to score was also in the Basque Country, against Real Sociedad in April 2016.
- If they win this game, Alaves will be the first team to win two games against Barcelona in a single season in all competitions since Bayern Munich in April/May 2013.
- After Real Madrid and Barcelona, Alaves are the side who have trailed for the fewest minutes at home in La Liga this season (66).
- Neymar has the best chances created per game average of any player in La Liga this season (3 per game).
- Luis Suarez has scored against 22 of 24 teams he has faced in La Liga (72 goals), only failing to do so against Malaga and Alaves.
- Mendizorroza is the only current La Liga ground in which Lionel Messi has never played.
TEAM NEWS & PREDICTED LINE-UPS
Alaves’ Copa del Rey hero Edgar Mendez, who came off the bench to score the winner against Celta Vigo in midweek, suffered a leg injury and is a doubt for the clash.
Pacheco; Vigaray, Alexis, Feddal, Garcia; Torres, Krsticic; Katai, Sobrino, Ortega; Santos
Rafinha could also be available after missing the midweek game with a nasal fracture. However, Javier Mascherano is definitely out after picking up a hamstring strain in the second half of the Copa clash versus Diego Simeone’s side on Tuesday. Gerard Pique and Arda Turan are both doubtful after missing training on Friday.
Ter Stegen; Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Gomes, Iniesta, Busquets; Neymar, Suarez, Messi
TRIVIA COURTESY- OPTA
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