Next up for Barcelona is a trip to Alaves who are still within touching distance of a Europa League Qualifying spot, despite a recent torrid run of form. The Catalan club will be hoping to pick up three points in midweek as they aim to continue their dominance and take a step closer to winning the title.
Barcelona have responded after recently drawing a blank against La Liga’s bottom club Huesca by dumping Manchester United out of the UEFA Champions League and edging past Real Sociedad over the Easter weekend in order to maintain their lead at the top.
The La Liga leaders struggled to beat Real Sociedad last time out and were fortunate to pick up three points which came thanks to a winner from a surprising face in Jordi Alba. 2019 could see a treble of success for Barcelona as they virtually have the league wrapped up, face Valencia in the final of the Copa del Ray, as well as having a Champions League semi-final against Liverpool to look forward to.
Barcelona are just two wins and six points away from sealing the title and seeing off what little challenge from Atletico exists. It’s an achievement which could be sealed this week as they face Alaves and Levante within seven days, two games in which they will be heavy favourites.
Barcelona, as you would expect, completely dominate the head to head statistics between these two. Barca have won the last five meetings in succession whilst also averaging three goals per game. Lionel Messi ran riot in the last meeting between the two last August, as the Argentinian found a double as he fired his side to a 3-0 victory.
No win in five for Alaves
Alaves have been riding high in La Liga this year, and they were in with a shout of putting the pressure on those occupying places 4th to 6th before they began to endure this poor run of form they’re on. Abelardo Fernandez led his side to a run of six matches without defeat over February and March, however they now find themselves without the taste of victory in five and they also haven’t won at Estadio de Mendizorroza since a 2-0 win over Levante back in February.
Alaves have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last eight attempts and this will be a worry as Barcelona prepare to come to town. It’s hard to be too critical of Alaves who are sitting nicely where they are and are on course for an improved finish on last season.
I wouldn’t expect a full-strength Barcelona team going into this game, and the same goes for the clash with Levante at the weekend as Ernesto Valverde will most likely make changes to keep some key players fresh with one eye on the Champions League tie with Liverpool which isn’t a million miles away.
Lionel Messi and Gerard Pique could be handed a break whilst we might see Philippe Coutinho and Sergio Busquets make their return to the starting line-up.
Barcelona win @ 1.57
Over 2.5 goals @ 1.65
Philippe Coutinho to score anytime @ 3.60