Barcelona will finish an underwhelming league campaign with a trip to Alaves on Sunday.
Thursday’s home defeat to Osasuna, coupled with Real Madrid’s triumph against Villarreal, handed Los Blancos the league title on Thursday night – leaving the Blaugrana nothing but personal pride to play for this weekend, and perhaps the chance to build up some momentum before their Champions League fixture with Napoli.
Alaves go into Sunday’s game knowing that they are mathematically safe from relegation following their away win against Real Betis.
When is Kick Off? Sunday 19 July
What Time is Kick Off? 16:00 (BST)
Where is it Being Played? Mendizorrotza Stadium
TV Channel/Live Stream? Premier Sports (UK), FuboTV (US)
The home side will be without Brazilian centre-back Rodrigo Ely following his red card last time out. Ximo Navarro is also a doubt, while Ruben Duarte and Fernando Pacheco remain sidelined.
As for the visitors, yellow cards in their last outing for Gerard Pique, Ivan Rakitic, and Junior Firpo have led to their suspensions. French trio Antoine Griezmann, Samuel Umtiti, and Ousmane Dembele are unlikely to feature.
With Setien’s priorities now lying elsewhere, it would be unsurprising to see star man Lionel Messi rested. However, the 33-year old needs to register just one more assist to set the single-season La Liga record, so expect him to make an appearance.
Alaves: Jimenez; Aleix Vidal, Laguardia, Magallan, Marin; Mendez, Pons, Camarasa, Rioja; Joselu, Perez.
Barcelona: Neto; Roberto, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Arturo Vidal, Arthur, Puig; Messi, Braithwaite, Fati.
The win over Real Betis will have been a massive relief for Alaves, who had picked up just one point from their previous seven games and looked in real danger of dropping into the bottom three.
Meanwhile, Barcelona’s defeat at home to Osasuna was their first loss at the Camp Nou in all competitions since November 2018. Osasuna also managed to end a run of ten games without defeat for Quique Setien’s men.
Here is how both sides have looked in their last five games.
Real Betis 1-2 Alaves (16/7)
Alaves 0-0 Getafe (13/7)
Real Madrid 2-0 Alaves (10/7)
Real Valladolid 1-0 Alaves (4/7)
Alaves 0-2 Granada (1/7)
Barcelona 1-2 Osasuna (16/7)
Real Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona (11/7)
Barcelona 1-0 Espanyol (8/7)
Villarreal 1-4 Barcelona (5/7)
Barcelona 2-2 Atletico Madrid (30/6)
With both sides left with nothing to play for, perhaps we should expect a goal fest on Sunday.
Quique Setien has come under immense scrutiny, with reports that he could be getting replaced at the end of the season. He will want a win to end the league campaign with some consolation, no matter how hollow.
Prediction: Alaves 2-4 Barcelona