Both these sides were involved in the Copa del Rey Quarter-Finals in midweek, with both suffering one goal defeats. Alaves will feel they still have a chance to progress but league survival is their main priority so there is no danger of them doing anything other than putting their strongest side out here.
They’ve given themselves a real chance of beating the drop with an encouraging run of results since their new boss Abelardo took charge. He has experience of pulling off a dramatic late escape at Sporting Gijon a couple of seasons ago and has totally transformed the Basque club’s season.
Before he arrived, Alaves looked almost doomed to a miserable campaign with problems at both ends. However they head into this having won 7 of their last 10 in all competitions and they are no longer in the relegation zone, thanks to a 2 point advantage on 18th place Deportivo La Coruna.
Leganes meanwhile have done the opposite, making a fantastic start to the campaign but losing their way slightly in recent weeks. They’ve lost 6 of their last 9 in La Liga and would only be 3 points above Alaves were they to lose this, which is testament to just how quickly things can change around.
13th place is certainly no disgrace for a club of their size but they do now need to be a bit careful as they could easily be sucked into the relegation scrap if results don’t pick up. A lack of goals has been the main issue for them and they could really do with investing in some attacking quality this month or at least bringing someone in on loan.
It just feels as though all the momentum is with Alaves here. They are suddenly playing like a side that believes they belong at this level. The addition of John Guidetti has given them a bit more physical presence up front which has made a difference. Their other forward options Munir and Bojan are good technical players but a bit similar and that’s not always what you need in a relegation scrap.
Crucially they’ve also turned the Mendizorroza into a bit of a fortress. Even last season when they did well to secure a mid-table finish, their home record wasn’t all that great. However with 5 straight home wins to nil heading into this, backing Alaves to win looks very good.
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