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Primera División

  • December 22, 2012
  • • 17:00
  • • Estadio Municipal José Zorrilla, Valladolid
  • Referee: Carlos Clos Gomez
  • • Attendance: 24823
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Real Valladolid - Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana seek 10th successive Liga win

Real Valladolid - Barcelona Preview: Blaugrana seek 10th successive Liga win

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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

  PROBABLE LINEUPS


VALLADOLID

Cagliari
 Hernandez
Rukavina, Sereno, Valiente, Balenziaga
Rubio, Perez
Omar, Oscar, Bueno
Manucho


BARCELONA

Juventus
Valdes
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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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
22D. HernándezGoalkeeper
2Antonio RukavinaDefender
4Marc ValienteDefender
-SerenoDefender
24BalenziagaDefender
-ÓscarMidfielder
-OmarMidfielder
-SastreMidfielder
7Víctor PérezMidfielder
-BuenoStriker
26ManuchoStriker
1JaimeGoalkeeper
17Carlos PeñaMidfielder
8Javier Baraja VegasDefender
18Álvaro RubioMidfielder
-Rubén PeñaMidfielder
-Juan Angel NeiraStriker
-Javi GuerraStriker
1Víctor ValdésGoalkeeper
22Daniel AlvesDefender
3PiquéDefender
18Jordi AlbaDefender
-Sergio GómezDefender
6XaviMidfielder
6Thiago AlcántaraMidfielder
14Javier MascheranoMidfielder
16BusquetsMidfielder
10MessiStriker
7PedroStriker
9Alexis SánchezStriker
13José Pinto ColoradoGoalkeeper
5Carles PuyolDefender
2MontoyaDefender
8Andrés Iniesta LujánMidfielder
12Jonathan Dos SantosMidfielder
7David VillaStriker
20TelloStriker
Players to Watch
Manucho
Manucho
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 26
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
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.
Messi
Messi
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 10
Games Goals YC RC
31 28 2 0
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.
Prediction
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.
Editor's Prediction

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