Monday, February 19, 2018

Prediction: Barcelona vs Valencia

Nemanja Lazarevic in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 31 Jan 2018

1,717 Views

Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 23/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

La Liga leaders Barcelona play host to high-flying Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, with the Catalans hoping to edge closer to winning the domestic double. Los Che, on the other hand, need to try and make amends for back to back league defeats to Las Palmas and Real Madrid.

Barcelona

This is turning into a dream campaign for Barcelona, who have so far impressed in all the competitions entered, although the Catalans obviously need to ensure they do not spoil everything with a poor finish of the season. The league trophy is theirs to lose having created an 11-point advantage at the top, while Ernesto Valverde’s side seem to be closing in on the Cup title as well. Barcelona suffered a real scare in the quarter-finals having lost the first leg to local rivals Espanyol, but a 2-0 win in the return leg set up a semi-final clash with Valencia.

The Catalans have since enjoyed a hard-fought victory over Deportivo Alaves, with Philippe Coutinho’s first start since arriving at the club another major boost. The Brazilian is slowly building his fitness after spending several weeks on the sidelines and he could prove a real asset during the all-important season finale. A run of important games starts with the visit of Valencia and there are no doubts that the Catalans will give their best to make an important step towards the Copa del Rey final.

Team News

Philippe Coutinho is unlikely to start a second game in three days, but Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba should be recalled.

Jasper Cillessen is expected to continue his Copa del Rey run, but Thomas Vermaelen and Ousmane Dembele are unlikely to feature.

Valencia

Even if the playing squad did not undergo any serious changes in the summer, Valencia got off to a perfect start in the 2017/2018 campaign and even spent some time at the La Liga summit. Los Che have since suffered a small dip in form, but they remain in third with 17 games to go, although they’ve got Real Madrid and Villarreal breathing down their necks. The main objective now is to try and hold on to a top 4 berth and secure a major windfall by qualifying for next year’s Champions League group stages.

At the same time, Valencia have a chance to fight for the Copa del Rey trophy, having defeated Real Zaragoza, Las Palmas and Deportivo Alaves to make it to the semi-finals. But, with mighty Barcelona at the other side of the pitch, los Che will have to seriously raise their game, having suffered three straight defeats in all competitions. Valencia only made it through to the semis after a penalty shoot-out, while they were since hammered at home by out-of-sorts Real Madrid, so an improvement is definitely needed if they are to avoid an embarrassing defeat at Camp Nou.

Team News

Geoffrey Kondogbia and Ezequiel Garay should be fit to play, but star winger Goncalo Guedes is almost certain to miss out.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Both teams scored in their last five meetings
  • Barcelona won 10 of last 11 games vs Valencia at Camp Nou (L1)
  • Los Che are on a three-match losing run
  • Barcelona won 15 of last 16 home games (D1)
  • Valencia scored in 12 of 13 away fixtures this season

Conclusion

Valencia are clearly going through a rough patch at the moment and it would take something really special from los Che to surprise high-flying Barcelona at Camp Nou. The Catalans appear to be in a very good shape and we expect them to record an important win, although they are unlikely to keep a clean sheet in the process.

Verdict: Home win & both teams to score

Best Odds: 23/20

Bookmaker: William Hill

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Nemanja Lazarevic


Working as editor-in-chief at Soccernews.com, Nemanja Lazarevic is responsible for organising and managing the team of writers to ensure the content produced on the site meets high industry standards and remains interesting to our readers. As our go-to guy for the football transfer news, he uses an extensive experience in the industry to dig up latest transfer stories from local sources.

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