Alaves vs Barcelona predictions and match preview for Sunday’s LaLiga fixture. Read on for expert analysis, the head-to-head, team news and predicted lineups as Xavi’s side return to the Basque Country for the second time in four days.
|Sunday 23rd January 2022
|21:00 (local time)
Alaves vs Barcelona Preview
LaLiga breaks up for the first international break of 2022 with a game in Vitoria as Barcelona aim to bounce back from a cup defeat in Bilbao on Thursday night. They return to the Basque Country with three points the goal as they seek to close in on the top four.
Alaves also had a disappointing midweek trip to reflect on. They were hammered 4-0 away to Real Betis, the first big setback for the recently appointed José Luis Mendilibar. Any hopes of the former Eibar boss enjoying a real honeymoon period look to be over but Alaves did hold both Real Sociedad and Athletic to draws at home in his opening two games at the helm.
Mendilibar will have to pick his troops up pretty quickly here but this isn’t an easy job he has on his hands. He will at least be boosted by the return of Florian Lejeune from suspension and the French centre-backs absence can at least in part explain some of their struggles on Tuesday in Seville. However there were problems in other areas too and things didn’t really click in midfield where two January loan signings started in the shape of Jason and Gonzalo Escalante.
As for Barcelona, they come into this game on the back of two 3-2 Extra Time defeats in the cups. Xavi would have found positives in both performances, particularly the Supercopa Clasico, and will be very happy to be finally getting some key players back but those defensive issues have still been evident and Barcelona retain the feel of a frail team that is too easily carved open.
January signing Ferran Torres is an exciting addition and he scored a brilliant goal in Bilbao to kick off his Blaugrana career on the right note. The prospect of the likes of Ferran, Ansu Fati and Pedri all fully fit and firing together is an exciting one but Barcelona fans are going to have to be patient it would seem with Fati cruelly struck down by a fresh injury blow at San Mames this Thursday which may keep him out for many more weeks.
Head to Head
- Last 6 Competitive Meetings: 4 Barcelona Wins, 2 Draws.
- The sides drew 1-1 at Camp Nou earlier this term.
- Barcelona have won on 5 of their last 6 visits to Vitoria.
- The exception was a 1-1 draw last season.
Florian Lejeune should return in defence for Alaves. Ruben Duarte is out injured.
Gavi is suspended for Barcelona who are missing Ansu Fati to a fresh injury. Memphis, Eric García and Sergi Roberto are also expected to miss this while Ousmane Dembele has been told to find a new club so it seems unlikely he will feature again.
Alaves vs Barcelona Predictions
Score Prediction: Alaves 1-2 Barcelona
Alaves are finding their feet under new management and that heavy loss at Betis in midweek sends them into this game on a really negative note. Barcelona are still very much a work in progress as their recent results continue to suggest but Pedri’s return is a big boost and they have a bit more in the final third now too with Luuk de Jong in good form and Ferran a much needed addition. They may have just enough to win this game.
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