Barcelona (-600) vs Alaves (+2200), Draw (+830)
This year’s Copa del Rey final is a true David-versus-Goliath battle with Barcelona and Alaves set to square off at Vicente Calderón this Saturday (May 27th).
Barca had to settle for second place in La Liga this season and crashed out in the quarterfinals of the Champions League. They didn’t necessarily have a poor season, but as it stands, they don’t have much to show for it. This is their last chance to salvage some silverware.
Outgoing manager Luis Enrique will want to leave the club on a high note, and this is his chance to do so. Enrique somewhat prematurely announced that he would be stepping down earlier in the season, and Barcelona plan to reveal his replacement after the final.
In reality, Barcelona could take the pitch with Forrest Gump as coach and still mop the floor with Alaves. The Babazorros had a pretty easy route to the Copa del Rey final, facing Celta Vigo, Alcorcón, and Deportivo La Coruña, teams which all reside in the bottom half of La Liga or lower.
Alaves, themselves, cracked the top-ten, finishing the season in ninth place with a 14-13-11 record, but they also posted a -2 goal difference, and were routed by Barcelona (6-0) during the year. That loss came directly after they found out they would be facing Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final, and it felt like a statement from the Catalans: don’t get any ideas.
Having said that, Alaves did manage to beat Barcelona earlier in the season (one of just four La Liga losses for Barca) and they ended their La Liga campaign with an impressive seven-game unbeaten streak.
The Basque team also has a lot more to play for. This is the first time Alaves have reached the finals of the Copa del Rey, and a win would grant them their first ever spot in the Europa League. Can they do the unthinkable?
Barcelona will be missing Sergi Roberto and Luis Suárez due to suspension, but that shouldn’t make too much of a difference. Barcelona have the depth to win this game many times over.
At -600, there’s not a lot of value in picking Barcelona. But it’s hard to make the case for Alaves. Barca are seeking their third consecutive title, and they overcame teams much tougher than Alaves in order to reach the finals. This is their last chance to win a major trophy this season and they’ll attack it with vigor.
Pick: Barcelona (-600)
Photo credit: Alex Fau (flickr) [https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/]
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