Barça goes to the ‘Emergencies’ in Mendizorroza


Alavés and Barça will play this Sunday in Mendizorroza (9:00 p.m.) in the last game of LaLiga Santander Matchday 22, a duel in the ‘ER’ for both teams, who haven’t finished starting and who need victory to start thinking positively about a once for all

The situation in the ‘Glorious’ does not live up to its nickname at all. Despite the change of coach at the end of December, the arrival of José Luis Mendilibar has not brought a victory. But it is that in front, Barça has been eliminated from the Super Cup and the Cup and also in need of points in LaLiga.

Alavés comes from conceding a tough defeat at the Benito Villamarín against a Betis that was one goal away from the ‘manita’ (4-0). A hard blow to bear and whose reaction to it will be seen in Mendizorroza, against a Barça that also needs to breathe positive air after a week, for various reasons, well contaminated.

Losing the Spanish Super Cup in the semi-final Classic and being eliminated in the Copa del Rey – the last title they defended last season – are heavy slabs to lift. Changing the ‘chip’ and returning to LaLiga may be worth it, but the bad thing for Barça’s interests is that they only have the option of winning.

And they come from not doing it, on the last day played at the beginning of January, because they let Granada tie at the end of a game that they had well faced with a goal from Luuk De Jong. The Dutch forward, by the way, is back to the team after suspension, although now it is Gavi, one of the best in the Blaugrana midfield, who will have to serve the penalty for his expulsion.

Barça needs positivity, optimism. Both things were transmitted by Xavi in ​​his first press conferences, although not so much now. Perhaps because bad news, of the worst depth such as Ansu Fati’s downfall, does not allow us to see the glass half full, neither in public nor, even less, in private. Without Ansu, low for months according to the forecasts, Barça is left again without its great hope.

On the other hand, Xavi does have a Pedri who is more and more shot after his injury and a Ferran Torres who was the positive note, with a great goal and more contribution than in his debut in the Super Cup Classic, in the goodbye cupbearer in San Mamés . Little by little, if he doesn’t lose any more pieces, Xavi has cards to play to find the path he wants, and needs, to follow.

The Blaugrana, seventh in the table after Villarreal’s triumph, are only one point away from the ‘Champions’ zone. Yes, the situation is nothing to write home about but that objective to which they have been relegated, that of getting a ticket for the next edition of the Champions League, is close. Not giving up more points, or letting wins slip away in the final minutes, is key to accessing that area.

Instead, the struggle of Alavés is another. He will start the game in the relegation zone and, except for a carom, he will continue in it even if he wins. Of course, the victory would be vital on a moral level and also to get closer to the light, to that 17th place that is only three points away and that RCD Mallorca defends.

In October last year, in the duel of the first round at the Camp Nou, Alavés managed to draw a rival feud in a game that was very different from this one, with two coaches who are no longer here — the interim Sergi Barjuán at Barça and Javi Calleja at Alavés– and which meant the last official match for Kun Agüero, who retired due to a heart problem that he detected in that clash.

Mendilibar, in this duel against Barça, will have the casualties of Ximo Navarro and Rubén Duarte, both injured. On the other hand, newcomer Jason Remeseiro could continue to establish himself in the starting eleven, just like Gonzalos Escalante who is taking advantage of his loan from Italian Lazio.

As for Xavi, he has more casualties than Gavi’s suspension or Ansu Fati’s injury. They will not be in Vitoria Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtiti or Eric Garcia, whose departure from the ball is missed by the Terrassa coach. Memphis Depay is a doubt, with discomfort, and except for surprise, the ‘secluded’ Ousmane Dembélé would not be either, at war with the club.



SPORTS ALAVES: Pacheco; Aguirregabíria, Laguardia, Lejeune, Javi López; Remeseiro, Pina, Manu Garcia, Luis Rioja; Edgar Mendez y Mato.

FC BARCELONA: Ter Stegen; Dani Alves, Piqué, Araujo, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Pedri, Nico; Abde, Luuk De Jong and Ferran Torres.

–REFEREE: Figueroa Vázquez (C. Andalusia).

–STADIUM: Mendizorroza.

–TIME: 9:00 p.m./Movistar LaLiga.