► BARCELONA vs DEPORTIVO ALAVÉS Lineup Squad & Prediction 18-Aug-2018 | ROUND 1 LA LIGA
Clement Lenglet is expected to make his league debut for Barcelona, with Samuel Umtiti being introduced back into the group slowly after his post-World Cup break.
Sergi Roberto will feature at right-back, after serving a suspension in the recent Spanish Super Cup clash against Sevilla.
Ousmane Dembele should feature on the left-hand side, with Lionel Messi coming in off the opposite flank to cause problems for the away side.
Jony should get a chance to make his debut after joining the club from Malaga during the summer, with the ex-Sporting winger set to be deployed on the right flank.
Since Munir’s return to Barcelona after his loan spell in Vitoria, Abelardo’s side haven’t signed another attacking option. Ruben Sobrino should partner John Guidetti up top.
Ximo Navarro is in contention for a debut at centre-back, with Guillermo Maripan also competing with him due to a knee injury for regular Rodrigo Ely.
Barcelona started off their competitive season earlier in the week with a 2-1 victory over Sevilla in the Spanish Super Cup in Morocco. Since then, they’ve played their annual Joan Gamper trophy match, giving all of their squad a chance to get some minutes in ahead of the new campaign.
Ernesto Valverde will be under pressure to try and replicate the same kind of La Liga campaign as their last, where the Blaugrana got until the dying stages of the season without tasting defeat. Plenty of top-flight outfits have got stronger this time around, however, and Alaves have picked up three points at Camp Nou within recent memory.
Abelardo turned Alaves’ fortunes around in the second half of last season, saving them from relegation in heroic fashion. The former Sporting boss has had a full pre-season to get more of his ideas across, but it will be tough to hit the same heights as last campaign.
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