Valencia-Barcelona Preview: Catalan giants look to stretch Liga lead

The Blaugrana must guard against complacency as they look to build on an 11-point advantage over second-placed Atletico Madrid in the Primera Division standings


Pereira, Rami, Ruiz, Cissokho
Albelda, T Costa
Piatti, Banega, Guardado

Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas

Pedro, Messi, Villa

Valencia forward Roberto Soldado has returned to training following a thigh injury and could start Sunday’s encounter against Barcelona at Mestalla.

However, Dani Parejo (hand) and Jonas (thigh) are unlikely to feature, while Nelson Valdez (calf) is a minor doubt.

Left-back Jeremy Mathieu has recovered from his ankle injury but will not be involved, while winger Sofiane Feghouli has returned from the Africa Cup of Nations and may start on the bench.

Barcelona welcome back Gerard Pique after he missed last weekend’s 5-1 win over Osasuna through suspension.

Striker Isaac Cuenca will play no part after he was loaned out to Ajax on transfer deadline day.

  • Valencia have won four of their last five Liga matches.
  • Los Che have lost their last three encounters against Barcelona by an aggregate score of 8-1.
  • Valencia’s last home win over Barca was a 3-2 success in the Copa del Rey in March 2008.
  • Barcelona have won just two of their last five games in all competitions.
  • With 71 goals scored in their 21 Liga matches, the Catalans possess the most potent attack in La Liga.
  • Lionel Messi (pictured, right) has scored in a record 11 consecutive Liga games.