MATCH PREVIEW: BARCELONA 3-0 ALAVES (SPAIN: LaLiga) FREE BETTING PICKS FOR TODAY, AUGUST 18
League: SPAIN: LaLiga – Round 1
Match: 21:15 Barcelona – Alaves
Prediction: Over 2.5 Goals
Average odds: 1.30
Result: 3:0 WIN!!!
|Barcelona begin their title defence against Deportivo Alavés at the Camp Nou on Saturday night and are expected to begin with a full-strength line-up.
|Having romped away with the league and the cup in 2017/18, Barca are firm favourites to do it again, especially with Real Madrid losing Ronaldo to Juventus this summer.
|Alavés, cherishing another year in the top flight after nabbing survival on the final day of 2017/18, face the toughest of tests imaginable to begin.
|They will also have to go about it without their top scorer from 2017/18 – the loaned Munir – who has returned to Barcelona.
|Barcelona have to adjust to a midfield without Iniesta but the likes of Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitić will be more than capable of running the team’s engine room. Summer pick-up Arturo Vidal is also expected to start, as is new club captain Lionel Messi.
|Alavés have lost the last four fixtures here, but did manage to win 2-1 at the Camp Nou early in the 2016/17 season, albeit against a weakened outfit that had Messi, Suarez and Iniesta coming off the bench in the second-half.
|Players to watch: Philippe Coutinho had his first full pre-season for Barca after a premature exit from the World Cup, but has settled in well at the Camp Nou.
|Ghanaian Patrick Twamusi looks an exciting prospect for Alavés. He arrives from Astana FC where he registered 18 goals and eight assists.
|Stat attack: Barcelona didn’t lose a single league game at home last season (W16, D3, L0) – and averaged 3.3 goals per game.
|Messi scored four hat-tricks in the 2017/18 season, including three at home and all four against clubs finishing ninth or lower.
|Alavés managed just two draws in the entire 2017/18 season. They lost nine of their first ten fixtures, including their first six.
Match Preview by FlashScore.com