Barcelona - Alaves Preview: Comfortable victory on the cards for the Blaugrana

The visitors have only once managed a win at Camp Nou back in 2000, and this record does not look like improving against a fresh-faced Barca side desperate to impress
  PROBABLE LINEUPS

BARCELONA

Pinto
Montoya, Pique, Puyol, Adriano
Roberto, Busquets, Iniesta
Tello, Pedro, Gerard
ALAVES

Urtzi
Luciano, Hernandez, Agustin, M Garcia
Guzman, Miki, Delgado,
Luismi
Viguera, Juanma

Tito Vilanova may well take the opportunity to rest a few key individuals and give several squad players the chance to shine against Alaves in the Copa del Rey on Wednesday.

The Catalans beat Levante 4-0 on Sunday, and are also in a comfortable position heading into this second-leg following a 3-0 win at the Estadio de Mendizorroza.

Dani Alves, who pulled his hamstring, is out for 20 days while Eric Bartra, Marc Muniesa, Eric Abidal, David Villa, Alexis Sanchez, and Isaac Cuenca are all missing, though the latter did start light training on Monday after a six-month absence.

Jose Pinto is expected to start in goal as coach Vilanova likes to rotate his goalkeepers for this competition. And there may well be run-outs for youngsters Martin Montoya, Sergi Roberto, Cristian Tello and Gerard Deulofeu.

Meanwhile, Alaves have been rocked by the news this week that first-choice goalkeeper Miguel - once part of La Masia - has torn his cruciate ligament and will miss at least two months of the season. This will give Urtzi or Sergio Herrera the opportunity to stake a claim.

Coach Naxto Gonzalez has already insisted his priority is the league which could mean midfielder Jagoba Beobide, who is struggling with a slight knock, might not be risked for this tie.


  DID YOU KNOW?
  • Barcelona are aiming for their 27th Copa del Rey triumph and are the current holders of the tournament after a 3-0 victory against Athletic Bilbao in last year's final.
  • Lionel Messi scored a double against Levante on Sunday and is now just three off Gerd Muller's record of 85 goals in a calendar year.
  • The last time the two sides met in the Copa del Rey was back in the 2006-2007 season. Following a double from Javier Saviola (pictured, right) in the first-leg of the tie, the Argentine then netted a hat-trick in the second giving the Catalans a 5-2 victory on aggregate.
  • Alaves last beat Barcelona at Camp Nou back in February 2000, where a solitary Nan Ribera strike was enough to give the visitors the win. It is the only time they have ever managed to win there.
  • Alaves top scorer this campaign is Spanish striker Guzman. The 27-year-old has netted five goals in 11 games in the Segunda Division B.
  • Alaves are currently top of the division with 34 points from 14 games.