ARRIVE AT THE BAD TIME That’s how I see it personally, because FC Barcelona has just lost to Sevilla (2-0) in the first leg of the semifinal cup and will want to forget the defeat at Sánchez Pizjuán with a good game and a victory. However, the duel is played days before the great European commitment against PSG, so the most normal thing would be to rest an important player to keep him fresh against the French. The current situation of the squad, with so many casualties due to injury, will not allow all the changes that I suppose would please the Barça coach. Barça-Alavés is one of those games called cheating, in which the mind can be in the Champions League, and not so much in the league match.
Alavés will try to take advantage of this situation after having reacted to poor results and image in Abelardo’s return to the Vitorian bench. Goleados in the Cup and in the League against Real Madrid, leaving a bad image, to react in the last two games played against Getafe and Valladolid, keeping a clean sheet in both. That was the main virtue of the team when Abelardo was previously there: a strong, aggressive team, forming a block with few distances between their lines, putting pressure on the rival and using their quick counterattack as an offensive weapon.
RECOVER THE DEFENSIVE STRENGTH That is Abelardo’s first intention and he is already on the way to achieve it. Also, of course, recover the reliability of a pair of attackers that was already fashionable in past seasons: Joselu and Lucas Pérez. Against Getafe, their match plan A was to prevent the Bordalás team from being able to carry out the advanced pressure that works so well for them, and to avoid it, they used direct, vertical football, thus minimizing the possibility that Getafe would exert that pressure that so much likes. If Abelardo understands that FC Barcelona is going to press high, he will probably opt for the long pass, looking for Joselu’s head. Or if Deyverson is there, to avoid pressure on the one hand and to take advantage of the great passing game of his attackers with extensions or taking advantage of the second plays. His favorite game scheme without a doubt is 4-4-2, with Pacheco in goal, very reliable, and finding a pair of centrals that performs well.
This has been the case in the last two games, Tachi and Lejeune, with two full-backs that stand out more for their defensive characteristics than for their attack, with two midfielders ahead of contention, Pina, Manu García or even Battaglia, and instead the of band with a lot of offensive tendency, Édgar and Luis Rioja or even Córdoba, that already debuted last day. The references above are for Joselu and Lucas Pérez, although it would not be surprising to see Deyverson, or that he even sacrificed an attacker to further strengthen the central plot. A set piece can be a very dangerous team due to the shooting capacity that it has in very powerful players in this type of play, such as Lejeune, Tachi, Joselu or Deyverson. The casualties of the Vitoria team are in defense: Ximo Navarro and Ely.