Alaves vs. Barcelona: Team News, Preview, Live Stream and TV Info

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 10, 2017

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (2nd R) vies with Alaves' defender Victor Laguardia (2nd L) beside Barcelona's Uruguayan forward Luis Suarez (R) during the Spanish league football match FC Barcelona vs Deportivo Alaves at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on September 10, 2016. / AFP / LLUIS GENE        (Photo credit should read LLUIS GENE/AFP/Getty Images)
LLUIS GENE/Getty Images

Barcelona have the chance to test themselves against fellow Copa del Rey finalists Alaves on Saturday when they travel to the Estadio Mendizorrotza in La Liga.

The Blaugrana will also be looking to avenge their shock 2-1 defeat at the hands of Alaves in September and put some pressure on Real Madrid before they travel to Osasuna later in the day.

Read on for a closer look at the clash, but first, here are the viewing details and the latest team news:

Date: Saturday, February 11

Time: 3:15 p.m. GMT/10:15 a.m. ET

TV: beIN Sports USA

Live Stream: beIN Sports Connect USA

Team News

Per sports journalist Pal Odegard, Alaves' Copa del Rey hero Edgar Mendez could be a doubt for the match, having come off the bench to score their winner against Celta Vigo before being substituted off with an apparent injury.

According to Barca's official website, Javier Mascherano could be a doubt for the game after suffering a thigh injury in Tuesday's Copa del Rey semi-final with Atletico Madrid, while Sport reported Rafinha could return after missing the match after breaking his nose.

Per ESPN FC, Sergi Roberto and Luis Suarez have been handed one and two-match suspensions, respectively, as they were both sent off for two bookable offences against Atletico.

Manu Fernandez/Associated Press

However, their ban will see them miss the final in May rather than Saturday's match, and in the Uruguayan's case he will also be suspended for Barca's first Copa match next season.

Predicted Alaves Lineup: Fernando Pacheco; Kiko Femenia, Victor Laguardia, Zouhair Feddal, Theo Hernandez; Marcos Llorente, Manu Garcia, Gaizka Toquero, Victor Camarasa, Ibai Gomez; Deyverson

Predicted Barcelona Lineup: Marc-Andre ter Stegen; Aleix Vidal, Gerard Pique, Samuel Umtiti, Lucas Digne; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Andre Gomes; Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, Neymar

Preview

Barca are one point behind Real Madrid, who will have three games in hand by the time they kick off on Saturday evening, so it's vital for the Catalan giants to keep the pressure on if they're to have a chance of regaining a foothold in the title race.

It's unusual for Luis Enrique's side to be in such a position at this stage of the season, but it's been far from a vintage campaign for Barcelona.

While they're still capable of producing some truly scintillating play at times, Barca no longer dominate teams the way they used to and often rely on individual moments of brilliance, most often from Lionel Messi.

Grup 14's Rafael Hernandez believes this has been the case since last season, when four consecutive defeats saw them knocked out of the UEFA Champions League and left their hold on the title race hanging by a thread:

It was the case during their two Copa del Rey semi-final legs with Atletico Madrid, according to La Liga writer Andrew Gaffney:

Indeed, the Argentinian's brilliance alone is often enough to decide a match, and as a result, Barcelona do still tend to win far more frequently than not.

Having Suarez also helps, as demonstrated by Squawka Football:

The Uruguayan has found the net in each of his last five games in all competitions and scored eight in his last eight.

However, Alaves have lost just once in all competitions since November 20, so they should not be taken lightly. They may not have a particularly cutting edge—they've drawn seven of their 11 games in 2017—but they're very difficult to beat.

If Luis Enrique's side aren't careful, they could find themselves in an even worse position in the title race.

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