Barcelona have an opportunity to move into the top four for the first time in Xavi’s tenure. To do so, they’ll need a win away at Alaves and for Madrid clubs Atletico and Rayo Vallecano to draw or lose this weekend.
As it currently stands, Barcelona are soccer betting favorites to hold up their end of the deal. Meanwhile, Alaves are coming off of an absolutely brutal loss and should be motivated.
- Game: Deportivo Alaves vs FC Barcelona
- Location: Estadio de Mendizorroza, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain
- Date/Time: Sunday, 3 p.m. ET
Alaves vs Barcelona Betting Preview
Head to Head
At Camp Nou in October, these teams played to a surprising 1-1 draw. Barcelona’s Memphis Depay opened up the scoring early in the second half but Alaves midfielder Luis Rioja scored his first and only goal of the season three minutes later to equalize.
Barcelona are unbeaten in the last eleven meetings vs Alaves in all competitions but they’ve drawn two of the last three.
Alaves Need a Bounce-Back Result
Alaves were shellacked 4-0 by Real Betis on Tuesday and were down 3-0 at halftime. In the relegation zone, Alaves surely weren’t expected to get a result at Betis but the result is concerning.
Before the defeat the Basque club opened up 2022 quite well, drawing against local rivals Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad. However, their last La Liga win came over two months ago and they’ll need to pick up points quickly to avoid relegation.
One of the lesser-known sides in La Liga, Alaves have been a non-factor for betting online this season. Three goals scored and nine conceded in the last four La Liga matches is just not going to cut it but Alaves are often at a talent disadvantage in a deep La Liga field.
On the bright side, they did keep one of only three La Liga shut outs in the match preceding the 4-0 defeat. Although, the center-back pairing of perpetual Chelsea loanee Matt Miazga and Victor Laguardia hasn’t been great.
Another bad sign for their chances of survival is that they almost completely rely on one player for their scoring output. Striker Joselu has reached 10 goals scored for a third consecutive season, no small feat, but he has scored over 60% of the team’s goals.
Alaves severely lack a secondary goal-scoring threat and have failed to address that need in the transfer market so far.
Barcelona Trending in the Right Direction
In a normal year, losing two Classicos to Real Madrid would be a huge disappointment. In Barcelona’s current state, it’s par for the course.
There are a lot of positive takeaways from the 3-2 loss in the Supercup. As Xavi said, “The feelings are contradictory because we could almost touch the win. I’m sad because it’s a Clasico defeat and we miss out on a trophy, but we dominated Madrid for large spells.
“We lack some experience, patience, responsibility. We made mistakes. We could have stopped [Madrid’s] counters and been more responsible with the ball. But we’re close.”
With Ferran Torres joining from Man City and wonderkid Pedri back from a long-term injury, Barcelona could be one of the better soccer picks of the second half of the season.
A front three of Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay, and Ferran Torres doesn’t sound half bad. Don’t forget that Martin Braithwaite is also coming back from a knee injury soon.
Barcelona face Athletic Bilbao on Thursday in the Copa Del Rey, so they’re at a two-day rest disadvantage coming into Sunday. Regardless, this is absolutely the kind of game they should be winning.
Yes, Barcelona drew with Alaves earlier in the season with 80% of the ball, which is unacceptable. It was also the first game after Ronald Koeman was sacked and before Xavi had been hired.
With a more cohesive roster and a few months under Xavi’s belt he should have his side ready for this match. If Barcelona can score twice vs Real Madrid, surely they can do the same vs Alaves. Take Barcelona at -175 odds in the sportsbook.
Pick: Barcelona (-175)