1st placed Barcelona went to the 8th placed Alaves with the ambition of getting closer to the title. The Catalunya side were 9 points clear off the 2nd placed Atletico Madrid before the match and a win would see them on top with 12 points clear off of second place and an extra game played. Barcelona certainly hoping to gain maximum points out of this fixture, also saw it as an opportunity to rest some important players such as Messi, Rakitic, Arthur Melo, and Jordi Alba as many important fixtures including the tie with Liverpool in the UEFA Champions League are forthcoming.
The playing eleven still had a real strength with Coutinho, Suarez and Dembele on the attack which looked promising enough to get the party going with some fireworks. Coutinho was below par throughout the game and so was Dembele. Even though the French international showed some glittery skills and nutmegs and some amazing runs, he wasn't particularly adding to the attack. He was later replaced by Messi in the second half. Suarez, on the other hand, was getting involved in the game and maintaining his timed runs through the Alaves defence.
The midfield comprised of Alena, Busquets and Vidal where Busquets was playing deep with the defence, Vidal had a bit of freedom and was seen tracking back as well as joining the attack at times. Alena was creating the key passes and was moving the ball all around.
The back line, Semedo, Umtiti, Pique, and Sergi Roberto did their job perfectly and in harmony stopping all the adequate attacks and possible chances.
Here are 3 players who won the game for Barcelona:
Pique was great defensively in today's game, blocking most of the shots while cutting off the attacks. Alaves came very close to scoring a goal in the second half, only for Pique to clear off the loose ball, saving a goal, which was ready to be hit by the Alaves attacker.
Pique's heroics in defence is something which is greatly known in the footballing world and even more so by the Barcelona fans. All of it was on display today along with his calm and composed head which made the passing in Barcelona's own penalty area quite easy and pleasing to the eye without a real hint of pressure. His partnership with Umtiti also received praise from the media and critics after the game as they managed to keep Alaves silent by allowing them just 1 shot on target, achieving a clean sheet.
Pique almost scored a goal which was later disallowed for offside only to discover it came off a hand of the Alaves defender and was deemed as a penalty via VAR.