With late goals from Aleña and Suarez, FC Barcelona gets a new victory at Alaves and sits only three points away from a new La Liga title.
FC Barcelona’s main objective for this week was to win the six points they require to win La Liga title before facing Liverpool next week.
The first challenge came today at Alaves and the Catalan club brought almost all of its best players to take this first step towards a new La Liga trophy.
Manager Ernesto Valverde decided to let midfielder Ivan Rakitic rest for this match because he wants him as fresh as possible for the game against Jurgen Klopp’s side.
The boss also left Lionel Messi on the bench and decided to give Ousmane Dembele some minutes that would boost his confidence for this final stretch of the season.
The French winger hasn’t been quite himself lately after coming back from the latest injury he suffered.
The manager’s intention is to fully recover his player but today he realized it won’t be so easy.
Dembele played alongside Luis Suarez and Philippe Coutinho on the attack.
Valverde also decided to rest Arthur Melo in order to give Arturo Vidal and Carles Aleña some minutes next to Sergio Busquets.
This squad proved to be competitive enough to defeat Alaves in a very complicated match that went to unsuspected lengths.
FC Barcelona was going to suffer in Vitoria to get that result.
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2019
The first half offered us a goalless draw that proved several of the Catalan club’s player who are not getting more participation require more minutes.
Players like Dembele or Coutinho are not currently going through their best moment and they didn’t play at their best tonight.
However, other players such as Carles Aleña or Arturo Vidal proved they are in great form despite not having a lot of time to play.
The Chile international doesn’t mind getting a little less participation compared to other players, he always delivers when Valverde asks him to give his best to the team.
Arturo Vidal is one of those rare mixtures of a tough midfielder with a unique quality with the ball at his feet.
There are several instances in which the South American star goes hard to recover the ball and he always delivers his pass to the best possible option around him.
Carles Aleña is another proof that FC Barcelona has a healthy number of top-quality midfielders in the roster that will make Valverde’s decision-making process very difficult next summer.
The Catalan youngster even scored his club’s first goal during the second half, Carles was everywhere on the pitch throughout the whole 87 minutes he played.
The 🔝 scorers in #LaLigaSantander 🔥
— LaLiga (@LaLigaEN) April 23, 2019
Early in the second half, Aleña combined an effort with Luis Suarez and scored Barcelona’s first goal of the evening with a left-footed effort.
The finish was clinical and it gave Barcelona more time to control the rest of the second half at will.
It took the Catalan club a few minutes to get a second goal after a very confusing moment inside Alaves’ box.
Gerard Pique was initially stropped out of a goal after a Samuel Umtiti offside that denied Barcelona an even greater advantage.
The referee disallowed the goal but the other officials who were checking VAR saw a handball committed by Pina on the replay.
After a few minutes checking the moment, the ref called a fair penalty.
Luis Suarez scored from the spot at the same time Leo Messi was getting ready to get in the game to play the final 30 minutes.
The Argentine wasn’t able to make a major difference in the match but he did get warmed up for next weekend’s match against Levante.
This win gives the Catalan club an opportunity to even become La Liga’s early champions tomorrow without having to play on Saturday.
Atletico Madrid’s defeat against Valencia would mathematically make them the new champions of Spanish football for the second year in a row.
— FC Barcelona (@FCBarcelona) April 23, 2019
Do you think Barcelona will become La Liga champions without playing or are they waiting until Saturday? Please share your opinion in the comment section down below.