Barcelona - Valencia Preview: Los Che can move within five points of Pep Guardiola's side with victory at Camp Nou
The Catalan giants aim to bounce back from their second league defeat of the season as they prepare for a tricky home fixture against Unai Emery's side
By Karthick Arvinth
Puyol, Pique, Abidal, Adriano
Fabregas, Busquets, Iniesta
Sanchez, Messi, Pedro
Miguel, Rami, Dealbert, Mathieu
Feghouli, Jonas, Piatti
Barcelona playmaker Xavi Hernandez is suffering from a calf problem and is unlikely to start Sunday's Primera Division clash with Valencia.
Sergio Busquets is expected to feature, having completed the full 90 minutes in the midweek Champions League win at Bayer Leverkusen, while Javier Mascherano and Dani Alves are both suspended.
Also expected to start is defender Gerard Pique, who was left out of the team to play Leverkusen for "technical reasons".
Mali midfielder Seydou Keita has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations, while Ibrahim Afellay has started training again following a serious knee injury that sidelined him for most of the season.
Valencia boss Unai Emery is set to welcome back David Albelda, Ever Banega and Roberto Soldado to the starting line-up, after the trio were rested on the bench for the Europa League victory at Stoke City.
Winger Jordi Alba (flu) is a doubt for the Camp Nou clash, while Sergio Canales and Antonio Barragan are also out.
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- Barcelona have won 10 and drawn one of their league fixtures at Camp Nou in the current campaign, scoring 45 goals and conceding just three in those matches.
- The Catalan giants have not lost a competitive match at Camp Nou since a 2-0 league defeat to Hercules in September 2010.
- With 23 goals to his name, Barcelona's Lionel Messi (pictured) is the second-highest scorer in the Primera Division this season, four behind Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo.
- Valencia are on a five-game winless streak away from home in the league.
- The coastal club are yet to record a win over Barcelona under Unai Emery.
- Jordi Alba, who has been linked with a move to Barcelona, was signed by Valencia for €6,000 from fourth-tier outfit Cornella in 2007.
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Top 3 Predictions
Barcelona 3-1 Valencia
- 16.35 %
Barcelona 1-2 Valencia
- 15.87 %
Barcelona 3-0 Valencia
- 11.63 %
|La Liga (LIGA)||1 Sep 2013||Valencia 2 - Barcelona 3|
|La Liga (LIGA)||3 Feb 2013||Valencia 1 - Barcelona 1|
|La Liga (LIGA)||2 Sep 2012||Barcelona 1 - Valencia 0|
|La Liga (LIGA)||19 Feb 2012||Barcelona 5 - Valencia 1|
|Copa del Rey (ESPC)||8 Feb 2012||Barcelona 2 - Valencia 0|
|17 Dec 2013||Barcelona 3 - F.C. Cartagena 0||ESPC|
|14 Dec 2013||Barcelona 2 - Villarreal 1||LIGA|
|11 Dec 2013||Barcelona 6 - Celtic 1||UCL|
|6 Dec 2013||F.C. Cartagena 1 - Barcelona 4||ESPC|
|1 Dec 2013||Athletic de Bilbao 1 - Barcelona 0||LIGA|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|20||Aritz Aduriz Zubeldia||Striker|
The Chilean has made an excellent start to his career in Spain and has carried over the form that saw him named the 2010-11 Serie A Footballer of the Year at Udinese. With a tally of eight goals in 13 league appearances, the 23-year-old has taken some of the scoring burden off the talismanic Messi.
The Brazil international has been in good form recently and has impressed with three goals in his last five matches. The former Gremio man will need to use every ounce of his guile and experience to help Valencia record a shock win over their Catalan hosts.
Barcelona may have lost to Osasuna last weekend, but they do not have much to fear in Valencia, who have been ordinary away from home all season. After Guardiola's decision to rest some of his big guns backfired last weekend, the Catalans will be extra-motivated to get the right result on Sunday and avoid falling even further behind Real Madrid.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed