Alaves vs Barcelona Prediction: Back Omorodion to score for hosts

 | February 02 | 

6 mins read

mack sochon la liga tips

Things are not great at the Camp Nou and a 1-0 win over ten-man Osasuna in the week hasn't lifted much of the gloom around the club.

They face Alaves on the road this Saturday in a 17:30 kick-off on Viaplay Sports 1 and our La Liga expert Mark Sochon gives us his preview and predictions...

Alaves vs Barcelona Betting Tips:

  • Back the Second Half in the Highest Scoring Half market @ 21/20
  • Back Samu Omorodion to score anytime & Alaves over 7.5 shots @ 3/1

It may only be the first weekend of February but this is already the tenth competitive fixture of 2024 for Barcelona. Xavi’s injury-hit squad would be forgiven for looking forward to a much-needed midweek rest, but they can expect few favours from an in-form Alaves side in the Basque Country on Saturday.

Barcelona did respond to last weekend’s 5-3 home defeat against Villarreal with a victory, but it was another underwhelming performance as they edged past Osasuna 1-0 with a first Barca goal for 18-year-old Vitor Roque the main positive.

Perhaps understandably given the hectic schedule and number of players they are currently missing, Barcelona look tired in the latter stages. That was all the more striking given Osasuna were down to ten men by that point after Unai Garcia’s 67th minute red card, but the visitors still managed to create chances to level the game.

This fixture comes less than 72 hours later and it’s one that they could have done without in truth with Ferran Torres the latest player to pick up an injury in midweek. Xavi still has the spine of his team available but the lack of depth in this squad means the likes of Ronald Araujo, Jules Kounde, Ilkay Gundogan, Frenkie de Jong and Robert Lewandowski have barely had any rest over the past few weeks.

By contrast, Alaves have only played six matches so far this calendar year. La Liga’s tendency to stick them in the unpopular Friday night slot means they’ve only had one match over the past fortnight, with the visit of the defending champions coming eight days after they won 3-0 at bottom club Almeria.

That was a third straight league win for Alaves. They also saw off two other struggling teams prior to that with a 3-2 win at Sevilla followed by a 1-0 home victory over Cadiz, results that have completely transformed the outlook of their season.

They actually headed into 2024 on the back of three straight defeats, with the reality of life in the top flight appearing to bite following promotion via the play-offs last June. There were even murmurings that boss Luis Garcia was in danger of losing his job, with the 51-year-old not doing himself any favours with a bizarre, angry outburst following the late defeat to Real Madrid in December.

However, it’s incredible what a difference a run of victories can make when you’re near the bottom of the league and all of a sudden, Alaves head into this game sitting comfortably in mid-table with a ten point cushion on the relegation zone.

There’s plenty for punters to weigh up here. It’s certainly worth considering that Alaves’ three recent wins did come against three of the worst teams in the league. Despite Barcelona’s own issues, there will still be a significant gulf in quality between the two starting elevens.

However, home advantage at the atmospheric Mendizorroza against a Barca side that’s likely to be running on empty by this point, gives Alaves as good a shot as they’ll ever have of upsetting the Catalan giants on home soil.

Team News:

Barcelona will definitely be missing at least six senior players for this game with Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Alejandro Balde, Gavi, Ferran Torres, Joao Felix and Marcos Alonso all injured.

Raphinha and Sergio Roberto are also unlikely to recover in time so Xavi is really limited in terms of options for freshening up his midweek eleven.

Ferran will have to be replaced with youngster Fermin Lopez perhaps the most likely option to come in for the former Manchester City man. Andreas Christensen could return at centre-back with Oriol Romeu and Vitor Roque the only other players who could potentially break into the starting eleven, although it’s likely that Robert Lewandowski will still continue up front over the young Brazilian.

Alaves do have some selection issues of their own with right back Andoni Gorosabel suspended while Aleksandar Sedlar, Kike Garcia and recent signing Carlos Vicente will miss the game through injury. They usually operate with a 4-2-3-1 system but could switch to playing with three centre-backs in this game with Abdel Abqar available again after Morocco’s early AFCON exit.

Match Odds:

Barcelona are priced to 5/6 to win this game and we are starting to see their odds drift in matches they’d ordinarily be expected to win without too much drama.

You can back Alaves to end a long run of poor results at home to Barcelona by winning this game at 16/5. Meanwhile, the Draw is priced at 11/4 and may be worth considering given half of Barca’s away league games this term have finished all square.

There have been a total of 40 goals scored in Barcelona’s nine matches so far in 2024 which has made them a good watch from a neutral perspective, although their own supporters might not necessarily agree. If you see that trend continuing here, you can back Both Teams to Score at 8/11 while Over 2.5 Goals is available at 4/5 with Over 3.5 Goals on offer at 2/1.

If you fancy Alaves to inflict further misery on Xavi and his team, you can back Alaves-Draw Double Chance at 19/20 while Alaves are available at 7/5 to win either half.

Bet 1 - Highest Scoring Half - Second Half @ 21/20

A major trend with Barcelona games this season has been that they tend to open up after the interval. 73% of Barca’s goals in La Liga have come in the Second Half and they’ve scored 18 times in the final 15 minutes with their possession based football often eventually wearing teams down.

Right now though, Barcelona themselves are looking vulnerable defensively in the latter stages of games which is most likely a product of fatigue. We could certainly see a repeat of that here given they’ll have a very inexperienced bench for the trip to Vitoria.

As a result, I’m backing Highest Scoring Half - Second Half at 21/20, a bet that has landed in all of Barca’s last six league games.

Bet 2 - Samu Omorodion to score anytime & Alaves over 7.5 shots @ 3/1

Alaves are not a team packed with goal threats but they do have a very useful striker in the form of 19-year-old Samu Omorodion. The Spain U21 international was a late summer arrival on loan from Atletico Madrid and it’s a signing that has proved an inspired piece of business with the powerful forward giving Alaves a real target man to play off.

While he’s been a bit inconsistent, Omorodion’s raw talent is obvious and he’s likely to play the full ninety minutes here with fellow striker Kike Garcia sidelined due to injury.

Fresh from a brace against Almeria last time out and up against an unconvincing Barca defence, I’m using the #PickYourPunt builder to back Samu Omorodion to score anytime and Alaves over 7.5 shots at 3/1.

You can check out Mark's La Liga Betting Tips along with those from the rest of the Betfred Insights Spanish Football writers on our La Liga home page...

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