With only eight league games left to play, Alaves, who sit at the foot of the La Liga table, will aim to keep their slim survival hopes alive on Sunday, when they take on Osasuna away from home.
The visitors are without a win in the Spanish top flight since mid-February, while their opponents sit 10th in the battle for a top-half finish.
Osasuna have enjoyed another commendable campaign in La Liga under the management of Jagoba Arrasate, comfortably keeping themselves away from the relegation scrap and sitting in the top half with 38 points from their 30 league outings.
One thing the boss may point to as a disappointment is his side’s inconsistency recently, although that is somewhat understandable given their tough schedule, as Los Rojillos firstly bounced back from consecutive defeats with a surprise win over Villarreal.
That was followed by a 4-0 thrashing at the hands of a resurgent Barcelona side, but they were able to return to winning ways immediately, defeating basement side Levante 3-1 as Ezequiel Avila, Ante Budimir and Darko Brasanac all got on the scoresheet.
Characteristically of their recent run, the victory was immediately followed up by another heavy defeat for Arrasate’s men, who were outclassed and beaten 4-1 by Real Betis last time out, as William Carvalho and Alex Moreno stretched their opponents’ lead late on after Budimir had pulled a goal back.
Now sitting 10th in the Spanish top flight but at risk of dropping into the bottom half, Los Rojillos will be keen to again bounce back and put their spell of inconsistency behind them in favour of a strong end to the term to seal an upper-mid table finish.
Deportivo Alaves’ Gonzalo Escalante celebrates scoring their first goal on April 2, 2022© Reuters
They welcome an Alaves side in desperate need of a reversal in their fortunes, as the visitors aim to remain in the fight for survival.
While El Glorioso did manage to stop an 11-game winless with a surprise 2-1 victory over Valencia in February, they have since been unable to add another notch to their wins column in six attempts.
In that time, they have picked up just two points and head into Sunday’s game on the back of three straight defeats, most recently suffering a 4-1 loss away at Atletico Madrid as Joao Felix and Luis Suarez each hit braces, despite Gonzalo Escalante drawing Alaves level on the hour mark.
Following that latest loss, the hierarchy made the decision to dismiss manager Jose Luis Mendilibar after just 12 games at the helm, with new boss Julio Velazquez now tasked with overseeing what would be a dramatic escape.
With time quickly running out to bridge the six-point gap to safety, the league’s basement side will travel to Osasuna hoping to record a win in their first game under Velazquez.