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May 16, 2010 6:00 PM BST
Camp Nou
Referee:‬ Pérez Lasa‎
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31′ Pedro
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La Liga Preview: Barcelona - Valladolid

With Sevilla out of the way, Barca are red-hot favourites to lift the crown, yet the Pucela are fighting for their lives and won’t lie down...

By Robin Bairner

Young guns Pedro and Bojan celebrate Barcelona's win in Seville (Getty Images)
No Walk In The Park

Last weekend’s clash against Sevilla was billed as the decisive encounter in Barcelona’s season, the match they needed to win to be sure of claiming the Primera Division title. Though los Rojiblancos were beaten 3-2, Real Madrid remain in the title hunt, and beating Valladolid will be no formality.

Barca appeared to be cruising to a 3-0 success at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last weekend after goals from Lionel Messi, Bojan Krkic and Pedro had them with a healthy lead. In addition, by the time the third was scored, Abdoulay Konko of the hosts had been dismissed. Goals from Frederic Kanoute and Luis Fabiano had the Catalans worried, and no such mental slips cannot be afforded come Sunday.

Valladolid may be portrayed as lambs to the slaughter in the press, but Carles Puyol has been quick to warn his side of the danger they possess. “This will be no stroll,” the lionhearted defender told the media. “It will be difficult playing against a team facing relegation. There are no easy games.”

Already there is mounting transfer speculation regarding the Camp Nou club, with the signing of David Villa ready to be announced imminently according to various pundits, while a move for Arsenal’s Cesc Fabregas has also been mooted by journalists. Though president Joan Laporta has admitted that he wants to act quickly in the transfer market, such desires should be cast aside for a few days as the title is on the line.

With the Champions League now gone, Barca will see it as imperative they hold onto their Spanish crown ahead of the free spending Blancos, and they’re only a win away from gathering a remarkable 99 points.

Tough Finish

Valladolid are one of four teams going into the final day of the campaign with exactly 36 points in the bank, and they are one of five teams in danger of being relegated by the time the full-time whistle blows to signify the end of the season.

With 12 points in their last seven matches, Pucela have been desperately hanging onto their top flight lives. The appointment of coach Javier Clemente has been the catalyst for this improved run of form, and with three wins, three draws and only one defeat over the spell of his reign, there can be genuine hope at the Jose Zorrilla that they can win at least a point at Camp Nou.

When Christian gave Racing Santander the lead when Pucela met los Verdiblancos last weekend, the prospects of Valladolid achieving safety seemed slim, but they battled their way into the lead thanks to goals from Javier Baraja and a controversial penalty from Nauzet Aleman.

Away wins have been rare for Valladolid this season, and there is no more intimidating a fortress than Camp Nou, but Clemente, who previously sent his Athletic Bilbao sides to crudely stop Barca, will doubtless try to repeat the trick with his present team.

Clemente never defeated a side with Pep Guardiola the player in it, and it’s likely he’ll have to overcome his Guardiola jinx on Saturday if he is to save the Pucela.



At the time of writing, Barcelona were still trying to overturn a suspension handed to Xavi, who will not feature if the Catalan club lose the appeal. Definitely banned is Maxwell, with Eric Abidal ready to claim the Brazilian’s place.

In terms of injuries, Andres Iniesta could be handed a key role after returning to full training this week after a significant spell out. Seydou Keita has Achilles tendon worries and is doubtful.

Probable Starting XI:
Valdes; Dani Alves, Puyol, Pique, Abidal; Keita, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Bojan, Pedro


Pucela have a number of worries ahead of this decisive encounter. Nivaldo, Alvaro Rubio, Carlos Lazaro, Asier del Horno and Sisi are all missing, while there will be late checks needed for Luis Prieto and Nestor Canobbio.

There will also be no place on the field for the suspended Borja Fernandez.

Probable Starting XI:
Jacobo; Lopez, Sereno, Prieto, Barragan; Aleman, Pele, Baraja, Sesma; Manucho, Diego Costa

Field Report
Head to Head
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ Mar 8, 2014 Valladolid 1 - FC Barcelona 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ Oct 5, 2013 FC Barcelona 4 - Valladolid 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ May 19, 2013 FC Barcelona 2 - Valladolid 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ Dec 22, 2012 Valladolid 1 - FC Barcelona 3
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Spain - Primera Division ‎(LIGA)‎ May 16, 2010 FC Barcelona 4 - Valladolid 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
  • Preview
Last Five Matches
Team News
Available Squads
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
5Carles PuyolDefender
22Éric AbidalDefender
-Seydou KeitaMidfielder
42Yaya Touré Midfielder
-Bojan KrkicStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
4Rafa MárquezDefender
15Gabriel MilitoDefender
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
10Zlatan IbrahimovicStriker
14Thierry HenryStriker
19Pedro LópezDefender
22Raúl NavasDefender
-Luis PrietoDefender
8Javier Baraja VegasDefender
-Jonathan SesmaMidfielder
19Diego CostaStriker
1J. VillarGoalkeeper
-César ArzoDefender
14Nauzet AlemánMidfielder
-F. CanobbioMidfielder
4Haris MedunjaninMidfielder
Players to Watch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
26 25 1 0
Lionel Messi, the world's best player of last year, is in his element when scoring in front of the Camp Nou faithful. He can make it 30 for the season with a strike against Valladolid and will almost certainly do so.
Position: Midfielder
Squad Number: 6
Games Goals YC RC
27 0 10 1
Pele will be charged with dominating the midfield from a deep position just in front of the back four. If the 22-year-old can get a handle on the centre of the pitch, Pucela have a slim hope of causing an upset, but they’ll have to make the most of their chances and every single member of their side will have to play out of their skins.
Probable Lineups
Víctor Valdés 1
Daniel Alves 22
Piqué 3
Carles Puyol 5
Éric Abidal 22
Busquets 16
Seydou Keita 0
Yaya Touré 42
Bojan Krkic 0
Messi 10
Pedro 7
Jacobo 0
Pedro López 19
Raúl Navas 22
Luis Prieto 0
Sereno 0
Barragán 19
Javier Baraja Vegas 8
Pelé 0
Jonathan Sesma 0
Manucho 9
Diego Costa 19
Match News
Top Scorers
Player   Goals Penalties
C. Ronaldo C. Ronaldo
Real Madrid
28 6
Diego Costa Diego Costa
Atl. Madrid
26 4
Messi Messi
25 6
Karim Benzema Karim Benzema
Real Madrid
17 0
Alexis Sánchez Alexis Sánchez
17 0