Deportivo Alaves have no forced moves or new injury concerns, but will likely make one defensive move with Pina making a full debut in midfield, replacing Santos. Litri has a knock or else he would have replaced Alfonzo Pedraza in the defense. The hosts get a fair +1.5 start against a Barcelona team that although has to be respected, they probably won’t be overly feared compared to last season. Alaves will play to keep it 0-0 but if they concede, they’d open up and could be exposed to a bigger defeat. This is a game that could go over 3 goals quite easily but at the same time, the approach from Alaves will be to play for a 0-0 and without goal power in their XI, it seems likely a big away win is the best route for goals. Alaves have nothing to lose however and could nick one or two from set plays.
Barcelona have mixed news, Suarez is almost certainly not going to be risked while both Iniesta and Pique are back in the XI. New signing Dembele adds the flair and turn of pace that Neymar’s move away deprived them of, but he is not expected to be in contention this weekend, with a medical yet to be completed. Barcelona -1.5 could be an attractive bet should Suarez pass fit, but there are some concerns about the lack of unity and motivation at the club right now. Barcelona showed a very poor effort in the Super Cup and although steady, didn’t shine either against Betis. If they played their best then they’d knock over the handicap. Over 3 goals will likely need Barcelona to play at their best and get at least 3 goals for a full win, and that may happen if the visitors scored relatively early and forced Alaves to come out and attack. The big concern with overs and Barcelona beating the handicap is their negative body language and concerning news about player unrest.
Verdict & Prediction
Will expect to win and anything less is a major setback. Barcelona won their opening game 2-0 but it wasn’t a great performance, albeit acceptable perhaps given the absences, but the critics are already out. The fans are unhappy with the squad and there is pressure on the club to sign, while there is a general sense of unrest around the club who are desperate to announce a signing to underline their ambitions remain high.
Prediction: Barcelona -1.50 Asian Handicap
Odds: 1.96 Pinnacle