After Barcelona fell 2-1 to Cádiz in the south of Spain in December, they found something that wasn’t there before and rattled off away win after away win in La Liga and the Copa del Rey.
This time around Ronald Koeman may hope that this match against Cádiz is the first of that next string of quality matches. At the very least, he will hope that it’s a match to refocus his squad after the 4-1 letdown against PSG.
There is the notion that Culers may see Ilaix Moriba again, and possibly even Konrad de la Fuente. But after two days off for mental health reasons, your best bet is seeing the veterans out there looking to prove a point. It may not be what Culers want to see, but it may be what the team needs internally.
The ageless Alvaro Negredo, who scored against Barcelona in December, leads his side with six goals and three assists. Unlike the first match-up, his usual partner up top is healthy and has three goals and two assists of his own. Those who’ve been watching Barcelona B should remember Choco Lozano, and since his time with the B team the Honduran has made himself into a La Liga regular.
Unfortunately for that pairing, the team has been in a bit of a nosedive since they last faced the Blaugrana. They have won just one match in the league since the meeting, including a string of four straight defeats coming into the game at the Camp Nou.
Two other former Barcelona B players, Alberto Perea and Fali, both played well during the first match-up, but Perea’s only goal of the season came in the game in Elche just prior to seeing his former club and he’s struggled to make an impact since.
Not only will those two need to improve, but Alvaro Cervera’s defense needs to figure something out as well. The rotating cast of defenders have conceded 15 goals in their last four matches. Not having a fully fit José Mari in defensive midfield to help protect that backline hasn’t helped. Meanwhile, influential playmaker Alex Fernandez and regular defensive midfielder Jens Jonsson are both returning from injuries and are still doubtful for the match. Goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma played one of the best matches of his career last time against the Catalans, but he’s struggled to replicate that performance since.
Beating Cádiz won’t changed the situation in the Champions League, but it could go a long way for team morale.
Barcelona (4-3-3): ter Stegen; Junior, Umtiti, Pique, Mingueza; Busquets, de Jong, Pedri; Griezmann, Messi, Dembélé
Alavés (4-4-2): Ledesma; Espino, Cala, Alcalá, Carcelén; Sánchez, Garrido, Mari, Fernández; Lozano, Negredo
Dan Hilton is an American journalist, broadcaster, and current Editor-in-Chief of BarcaBlog. Extensive work as a play-by-play broadcaster, producer behind the scenes, and quite average player in his younger years has given him a well-rounded and informative perspective on the sport. Alongside BarcaBlog founder Francesc, Dan started The Barcelona Podcast in 2017