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
By Karthick Arvinth
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.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- 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.
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Top 3 Predictions
Valencia CF 1-3 FC Barcelona
- 19.83 %
Valencia CF 1-4 FC Barcelona
- 10.55 %
Valencia CF 0-3 FC Barcelona
- 9.62 %
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 1, 2014||FC Barcelona 2 - Valencia CF 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 1, 2013||Valencia CF 2 - FC Barcelona 3|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 3, 2013||Valencia CF 1 - FC Barcelona 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Sep 2, 2012||FC Barcelona 1 - Valencia CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Feb 19, 2012||FC Barcelona 5 - Valencia CF 1|
|Mar 9, 2014||Valencia CF 1 - Athletic Bilbao 1||LIGA|
|Mar 2, 2014||Rayo Vallecano 1 - Valencia CF 0||LIGA|
|Feb 27, 2014||Valencia CF 0 - Dynamo Kiev 0||EL|
|Feb 23, 2014||Valencia CF 2 - Granada 1||LIGA|
|Feb 20, 2014||Dynamo Kiev 0 - Valencia CF 2||EL|
|18||Jose Andrés Guardado||Midfielder|
|8||Andrés Iniesta Luján||Midfielder|
|13||José Pinto Colorado||Goalkeeper|
Barcelona played well against Real Madrid on Wednesday and will be in confident mood heading into the weekend. Valencia did well to beat Deportivo La Coruna after an erratic defensive display in the 5-0 hammering at the hands of Real, but they are weakened by the absence of some key personnel.