FC Barcelona (Champions) vs Deportivo Alavés
Competition: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 1
Barcelona team news: Denis Suarez, Carles Aleñá (out, injury)
Alavés team news: Rodrigo Ely (out, injury), Adrián Diéguez (out, suspension)
Date/Time: Saturday, August 18, 2018, 10.15pm CET (Barcelona) / 9.15pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria) / 4.15pm ET, 1.15pm PT (USA) / 1.45am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 2 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
Welcome back, La Liga! The Spanish league is upon us once again, and this should be a very fun season. Atlético Madrid look incredibly strong, Real Madrid have a new manager and Barcelona have also strengthened in their quest to defend their title. Last season was close to being memorable with the first-ever Invincible campaign in La Liga history, but Barça still broke plenty of records and were very dominant in their title run.
The Catalan giants now look to not only defend their championship, but play better while doing so. That was the big criticism of Ernesto Valverde last season, and this seems to be the manager’s goal for this campaign. Starting with Alavés isn’t the easiest of games, but it’s not that tough either. Barça can definitely make a statement in this one, and it could be the start of a beautiful season.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Piqué, Umtiti, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Coutinho; Messi, Suárez, Dembélé
Alavés (4-4-2): Pacheco; Aguirregabiria, Navarro, Laguardia, Duarte; Jony, García, Wakaso, Gómez; Sobrino, Guidetti
I loved how we looked in preseason, and I trust us to dominate here: 4-0 Barça.