A walk in the park for Barcelona?

This weekend sees Barcelona face perhaps not their toughest challenge of the season as Deportivo Alavés visit the Nou Camp in the late kick off on Saturday.

It is fair to say that Deportivo Alavés do not have a rich soccer history in the Spanish top flight.

A majority of their league history has been spent in Spain’s second tier the Segunda division. The current campaign is the clubs 12th in the top flight and first since the relegation season of 2005/06.

During that year Alaves, actually came away from Barcelona with a point in a 0-0 draw at their home ground the Mendizorrotza in the Basque Country. The return fixture proved less fruitful for the underdogs as Barcelona pressed home their superiority with a 2-0 victory.

In the last six meetings between the two, Barcelona have found the net 13 times whereas Alaves have scored a rather meagre 3 times against the Spanish Giants and many expect more of the same on Saturday. Also on Saturday, ex-Barca boss Pep Guardiola goes toe to toe with old foe Jose Mourinho in the Manchester derby – check out a preview to this game here.

The last time the two sides met was in a two-legged contest in the Copa Del Rey in 2012. Barcelona were comfortable victors as they came away as 6-1 aggregate winners.

A 3-0 away win for Barce coupled with a 3-1 home win for the Catalans secured easy passage for the 28 times Copa Del Rey Champions.

However, there could be a small window of opportunities for the minnows as the Champions League gets underway for Barcelona on Tuesday as Celtic come to town for the opening Champions League Group C fixture.

The hope for Alaves is that Barcelona may underestimate them and play a weakened side in preparation for Tuesday as that will more than likely be viewed as the more important of the two fixtures.

But don’t completely discount Alaves. They have made a relatively strong start to the season and currently sit unbeaten after two draws.

An opening day away trip to Atletico Madrid would make most wonder what they had done in a past life to deserve such treatment, but Alaves took advantage of transfer uncertainty to snatch a 1-1 draw.

Next up was a home tie against Sporting Gijon and a 0-0 draw ensured leaving Alaves no doubt relatively happy with their very early season form.

This season Barcelona have a 100% record defeating Real Betis and Athletic Bilbao respectively and it is hard to see past them to claiming a third straight win against a stubborn Alaves outfit.

Although you expect even a weakened Barcelona team to be strong enough to overcome a far inferior team.

We just need to remember that in football anything can happen.

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