Barcelona play host to Valencia at Camp Nou on Saturday in what is the Primera Division’s most eye-catching fixture of the weekend.
The Catalans flexed their muscles in midweek to progress through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey with a spectacular 6-1 victory over Sevilla , overturning a 2-0 first-leg loss, representing a step up in their focus.
Already they lie five points clear at the top of the Spanish standings but their qualities will be put to the test against mid-table opponents who have lost only four of their 21 league fixtures this term.
|Game||Barcelona vs Valencia|
|Date||Saturday, February 2|
|Time||5:30pm GMT / 12:30pm ET|
|Stream (US)||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
TV Channel, Live Stream & How To Watch
In the United States (US), the game can be watched on BeINSports and live and on-demand with fuboTV (7-day free trial) .
New users can sign up for a free seven-day trial of the live sports streaming service, which can be accessed via iOS, Android, Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku and Apple TV as well as on a web browser.
|US TV channel||Online stream|
|BeIN Sports||fubo TV (7-day free trial)|
In the United Kingdom (UK), the game will not be broadcast on television but is available for streaming with Eleven Sports 1.
|UK TV channel||Online stream|
|N/A||Eleven Sports 1|
Squads & Team News
|Defenders||Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba, Miranda, Gonzalez, Chumi, Todibo, Vermaelen, Roberto|
|Midfielders||Rakitic, Busquets, Vidal, Boateng, Arthur, Alena|
|Forwards||Messi, Suarez, Coutinho, Malcom|
Barcelona will miss Sergio Busquets from this encounter due to a one-game ban.
Samuel Umtiti remains a long-term absentee in the heart of the defence but has started training again. Jean-Clair Todibo is added to the squad in that area .
An ankle problem keeps Ousmane Dembele from featuring.
Confirmed Barcelona starting XI: Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Vermaelen, Roberto; Alena, Rakitic, Vidal; Messi, Suarez, Coutinho
|Defenders||Wass, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya, Lato, Piccini, Roncaglia|
|Midfielders||Coquelin, Parejo, Carlos Soler, Torres, Wass, Lee|
|Forwards||Gameiro, Mina, Sobrino, Cheryshev, Torres, Rodrigo|
Mouctar Diakhaby has been handed a four-match ban following a fight in the Copa del Rey in midweek.
Geoffrey Kondogbia and playmaker Goncalo Guedes are already sidelined through injury.
Confirmed Valencia starting XI: Neto; Piccini, Garay, Gabriel, Lato; Wass, Coquelin, Parejo, Cheryshev; Rodrigo, Gameiro
Betting & Match Odds
Barcelona are 2/7 favourites to win the clash at Camp Nou, according to bet365 . Valencia can be backed at 10/1 while a draw is 19/4.
Barcelona were back to their absolute best on Wednesday as they dismantled Sevilla 6-1 to progress through to the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey.
Having played a weakened team in previous outings, a 2-0 first-leg loss against the Andalusians prompted more serious action from Ernesto Valverde, who unleashed Lionel Messi & Co. for the return match.
It proved one of the great Camp Nou nights as the attack clicked together spectacularly, with Philippe Coutinho (twice), Ivan Rakitic, Sergi Roberto, Luis Suarez and, of course, the Argentine all netting.
"It was said that we threw the cup or that we didn't want it, or maybe my message was misinterpreted at the beginning of the season," Messi told Barca TV .
"The team want to fight for the three competitions, as it is always Barcelona's obligation every year. We do not throw anything."
Head coach Ernesto Valverde, meanwhile, was understandably heartened by what he had witnessed .
“The best thing is that we have security and we confirmed that we are a team that when we have to take a step forward, we do it,” he explained after the match.
Certainly, the performance was a warning shot, not only to those who would challenge for their Spanish crown, but also clubs hoping to win the Champions League.
Valencia playfully took note of the formidable midweek display on social media, with a tongue-in-cheek scouting mission discovering: “Messi = good.”
If Valencia lie seventh in the standings, it is largely because of their strong defensive record; they have conceded only 18 times, a tally that only Atletico Madrid can better.
Going forward, though, they have struggled and this has consequently resulted in 11 draws from 21 games.
Having signed attacker Ruben Sobrino from Alaves and Celta midfielder Facundo Roncaglia on Deadline Day, they will hope their offensive fortunes will improve – starting at Camp Nou.