Real Valladolid - Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana seek 10th successive Liga win
Jordi Roura will lead the Catalans as stand-in coach in the absence of Tito Vilanova, who is recovering from Thursday's operation to remove a tumour from his parotid gland
By Karthick Arvinth
Rukavina, Sereno, Valiente, Balenziaga
Omar, Oscar, Bueno
Alves, Pique, Puyol, Alba
Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta
Pedro, Messi, Villa
Real Valladolid midfielder Alvaro Rubio is struggling with a muscle problem and could miss Saturday's Primera Division encounter with Barcelona at the Jose Zorrilla.
Pucela boss Miroslav Djukic could stick with the same side that played out a goalless draw at Deportivo La Coruna on Monday.
Barcelona will again be without Cesc Fabregas, who remains sidelined with a thigh injury.
But defender Eric Abidal has returned to training for the first time since he needed a liver transplant in April and could return to first-team action in January.
Meanwhile, Barca announced on Thursday that Tito Vilanova's operation on his parotid gland had gone successfully.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Valladolid have won just two of their last six matches in La Liga.
- The Pucela have lost their last five Liga encounters with Barcelona.
- Valladolid's last home win over Barca was a 2-1 success in October 2002.
- Barcelona are on a nine-match winning run in La Liga and are the only team with a 100 per cent record away from home this season.
- The Catalan giants will face Serie A outfit AC Milan in the Champions League round of 16 on February 20 and March 12.
- Lionel Messi (pictured, right) has netted 11 goals in his last five Liga outings for Barca.
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Top 3 Predictions
Valladolid 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 11.87 %
Valladolid 0-4 FC Barcelona
- 10.65 %
Valladolid 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 10.41 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Oct 5, 2013||FC Barcelona 4 - Valladolid 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 19, 2013||FC Barcelona 2 - Valladolid 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Dec 22, 2012||Valladolid 1 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||May 16, 2010||FC Barcelona 4 - Valladolid 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 23, 2010||Valladolid 0 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Dec 6, 2013||Valladolid 0 - Rayo Vallecano 0||ESPC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Real Madrid CF 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|Nov 22, 2013||Valladolid 0 - Osasuna 1||LIGA|
|Nov 10, 2013||Valencia CF 2 - Valladolid 2||LIGA|
|Nov 2, 2013||Almeria 1 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|8||Javier Baraja Vegas||Defender|
|-||Juan Angel Neira||Striker|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|12||Jonathan Dos Santos||Midfielder|
The former Manchester United striker has shined for Valladolid this season, and is the club's chief goal threat, along with playmaker Oscar. The 29-year-old will look to produce a repeat of his performance against Real Madrid, in which he netted both goals in a 3-2 defeat.
The Argentine striker has enjoyed a remarkable year, even by his own high standards, netting his 89th and 90th goal of 2012 in the 4-1 win over Atletico Madrid. Having agreed a contract extension to keep him at Camp Nou until 2018 earlier in the week, Messi will look to end the year on a high by firing his team to victory over Valladolid.
The trip to Valladolid is a tricky one for Barcelona, who have been rocked by the news that Vilanova has suffered a relapse of his cancer. The hosts possess the organisation and discipline to frustrate their opponents, but Barca will be desperate to win this for their coach.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed