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Primera División

  • September 21, 2011
  • • 21:00
  • • Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia
  • Referee: Carlos Velasco Carballo
  • • Attendance: 52250
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La Liga Preview: Valencia v Barcelona

La Liga Preview: Valencia v Barcelona

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It is first against third as the in-form hosts face the champions when Pep Guardiola brings his side to the Mestalla fresh from an eight-goal victory over Osasuna


PROBABLE LINE-UPS

Valencia (4-2-3-1): Guaita; Bruno, Ruiz, Rami, Jordi Alba; Banega, Albelda; Canales, Jonas, Pablo; Soldado


Roberto Soldado was a slight doubt for this match after hobbling off with a foot injury in Valencia's weekend win over Sporting Gijon. However, it looks like the joint-leading goalscorer of La Liga will recover in time to attempt to continue his impressive form. Unai Emery likes to rotate but he may play the same side to continue their momentum against the champions.

Barcelona (4-3-3): Valdes; Dani Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal; Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Thiago, Messi, Villa


Gerard Pique has returned to full training after recovering from the calf injury suffered in the Spanish Super Cup. However, the defender will not be match fit and it is unlikely that Guardiola will risk him in his starting XI. Meanwhile, Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez are still shelved with hamstring injuries.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Valencia's last victory over Barcelona came in 2008 when Juan Mata scored a brace to send his side on their way to a 3-2 victory.
  • Along with Barcelona and Real Madrid, Valencia are one of only three Spanish clubs to have won five or more continental titles.
  • In 1919, the first Valencia president was decided by a coin toss.

  • Barcelona are unbeaten against Valencia in eight games in La Liga.

  • A second half strike by Lionel Messi was the difference between the sides in the corresponding fixture last season.

  • Barcelona's David Villa scored 108 goals in 166 games for this week's opponents, Valencia, before making the move to Camp Nou.

Players to watch

Soldado

Position: Attacker

Games: 0

  • 0
  • 0
  • 0
The most in-form La Liga striker at the moment and joint-leading goalscorer with Lionel Messi. Soldado certainly has the quality to cause the Barca defence problems with his movement and finishing ability and will look to fire his side to a victory in order to prompt pundits to consider Valencia as title contenders.

L. Messi

Position: Attacker

Games: 6

  • 5
  • 0
  • 0
Will look to continue his phenomenal form after a virtuoso display against Osasuna. Look for him to play just off David Albelda in the hole between the Valencia defence and midfield so that he can attempt to link up again with Cesc Fabregas and cause havoc in Unai Emery's defence.

Editor's Prediction

Valencia have won three games out of three and find themselves at the top of La Liga. However they have not faced a side anywhere near the calibre of Pep Guardiola's team and will certainly have their work cut out. Barcelona are coming of a sublime win against Osasuna but it will take a phenomenal performance to replicate any result of that sort against the hosts as clashes at the Mestalla between the sides tend to be tight affairs. Valencia pose a potent attacking threat and can certainly cause the Barca defence problems but expect the champions to take their chances and just get the narrow victory.

Last Five Matches

Head To Head

Valencia

Barcelona

Wins
1
1
3
Wins

Betting & Predictions

Reader's Predictions

Valencia Club de Fútbol VAL
Valencia Club de Fútbol Valencia
Draw
FC Barcelona FCB
FC Barcelona Barcelona
81%

Top 3 Predictions

Valencia Club de Fútbol VAL
1 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
Valencia Club de Fútbol VAL
0 - 3
FC Barcelona FCB
Valencia Club de Fútbol VAL
0 - 2
FC Barcelona FCB

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