Our Spanish expert Phil Kitromilides believes that Valencia will struggle to score against the league leaders without their main striker Robert SoldadoHaving won four of their last five league games, Valencia find themselves just two points off a Champions League spot heading into this weekend's round of fixtures, yet at home Los Che have been fairly erratic.
Their last league game at Mestalla saw them humbled 5-0 by Real Madrid while in December they lost successive home games to Rayo Vallecano and Real Sociedad.
The visit of an in-form and injury-free Barcelona will be cause for concern for Ernesto Valverde and William Hill price his side at 6/1 (7.00) to claim their eighth home win of the season. Barca who are offered at 4/9 (1.44), will have to banish the memory of Wednesday night's Copa del Rey Clasico semi-final first leg in which they had enough clear chances to kill the tie, yet their wastefulness was punished by a late Real Madrid equaliser.
That goal from Raphael Varane maintained Barca's unwanted record of conceding goals, having failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last five matches. Both teams to score is available at 8/15 (1.53) yet that is too short to consider and in any case backing against both teams to score would seem to hold more value at 11/8 (2.37). Valencia will be missing their main striker Roberto Soldado, and his replacement Nelson Valdez is far from clinical.
It is true the Paraguayan did score in the 3-2 win at Deportivo last week, but he squandered three clear-cut openings before finding the back of the net against the bottom club. Against Barca the chances will be few and far between, and Valencia's other main goal-scoring threat, Jonas, also suffers from a near chronic lack of incisiveness in front of goal. This bet paid out when the two sides met earlier this season, and has also paid out in each of Barca's last two league trips to Mestalla.
For a value bet, try backing Andres Iniesta to score at any time and Barca to win at 5/1 (6.00). The World Cup winner was in dazzling form against Real Madrid in midweek and is due a goal.
|Both teams not to score at 11/8 (2.37) with William Hill
||Andres Iniesta to score at any time and Barca to win at 5/1 (6.00)with William Hill|
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Phil Kitromilides is a sports anchor working on TV in Madrid. You can also follow Phil on Twitter.