Barcelona are competing in their sixth Copa del Rey in the last seven seasons, during which time they lifted the trophy three times, including in the last two seasons. However, while this usually bolstered wins in the league or Champions League, this is their only hope of silverware in what’s been a disappointing season by their lofty standards. Alaves, meanwhile, are looking to cap off what’s been an excellent return to the top tier of Spanish football as they managed to finish 9th in the league and have the opportunity of winning their first major trophy.
Barca have bounced back from the disappointment of going out to Juventus in the Champions League emphatically, winning their last six in the league, including at the Bernabeu, and scoring 25 goals in the process. They do remain vulnerable defensively, however, as they’ve kept just three clean sheets in their last 15 in all competitions and so that will certainly give Mauricio Pellegrino’s side some confidence.
Alaves stunned Barca at the Nou Camp earlier on in the season with a 2-1 victory but the Catalans didn’t have the likes of Iniesta, Messi, Suarez or Pique in the starting line-up that day and were emphatic 6-0 winners in the Basque Country in the return with a much stronger side. Alaves were also beaten 4-1 and 3-0 in their games against Real and given the Catalans’ excellent scoring form, they could be in for another heavy defeat here. We expect Barca to send Luis Enrique off in style and so we’re backing them to cover the -2 handicap.
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