Spanish giants Barcelona will seek to maintain their winning start to the league season when they travel to the Mendizorrotza to face Deportivo Alaves. Babazorros clinched a shocking 2-1 win at Camp Nou following their top-flight return last year, but the reverse fixture at home was one-sided with Barca securing a convincing 6-0 victory.
Despite the results, the Catalan giants will have to guard against complacency with Alaves having lost just four times on home soil last term. Barcelona secured a 2-0 triumph over Real Betis in their La Liga opener with Gerard Deulofeu, in particular, impressing on his Catalunya return. Meanwhile, Alaves lost out 1-0 at Leganes last weekend, but it could have quite easily been a draw, had Manu Garcia converted his penalty.
Players to watch for:
Gerard Deulofeu – Barcelona: The La Masia graduate returned to the Camp Nou earlier this summer following an unsuccessful spell with Everton. The 23-year-old’s career looked to be on the downslide at Goodison before a short-term loan with AC Milan brought glimpses of his old self. Deulofeu has since earned a couple of call-ups with Spain whilst bagging both assists in the 2-0 victory over Betis.
Christian Santos – Deportivo Alaves: With Devyerson off to Palmeiras over the summer, Alaves are likely to be dependent on Christian Santos for the goals. The Venezuela international notched just three league goals for Alaves last term, but the team will expect him to improve on this record in order to avoid a potential relegation battle.
Despite the off-field issues for Barcelona, Ernesto Valverde will be hoping to clinch all three points. Real Madrid made a statement with their 3-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna last weekend, and Barca will want to maintain their pressure on their arch-rivals. They should have too much in store for their Spanish counterparts regardless of Neymar’s departure and Luis Suarez’s injury – Alaves 0-3 Barcelona
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