Friday, January 19, 2018

Prediction: Valencia CF vs FC Barcelona

Juan Pablo Aravena in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 25 Nov 2017

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Verdict: Over 3,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

The two top teams in La Liga this season will collide this Sunday at Estadio Mestalla. Valencia will try to extend their undefeated run against FC Barcelona, although the visitors certainly appear as favourites on paper. Los Cules have won 11 of their first 12 Liga matches, and will look to maintain at the top with another win. The game starts at 19:45 BST on Saturday, and Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva will be the referee.

Valencia CF

It is safe to say Valencia have been one of the biggest surprises in La Liga this season. Los Che have enjoyed a great start of the season, as Marcelino has assembled a competitive team filled with players that were discarded by other teams. Names such as Goncalo Guedes, Andreas Pereira, Gabriel Paulista, Simone Zaza, Jeison Murillo and Geoffrey Kondogbia have emerged as important pieces for the Mestalla outfit, and the results back them up. Valencia are currently riding an eight-game winning streak in LaLiga, and are one of three undefeated teams in the competitions. They sit in second place with 30 points, thanks to nine wins and three draws. To make things even better, Valencia have lost just once in their past 14 Liga home games. But they won’t have Marcelino on the bench for this fixture, as he is currently serving a two-game ban following his sent off against Espanyol last week.

Team News

Valencia won’t have one of their key players on defence, as Jeison Murillo is out due to a groin injury.

Javier Jimenez has been ruled out as well due to a knee problem. Nemanja Maksimovic is doubtful due to a back injury. He should play, though, as he is yet to miss a game this season.

FC Barcelona

Valencia might have been the biggest surprise of the current Liga season, but it’s hard to overlook what Barcelona have done in the current campaign. Los Blaugranas have left their two losses against Real Madrid in the Spanish Super Cup behind, and there is no question they have been the league’s most dominant side by a wide margin. The numbers back them up, as Barca sit at the top of the standings with 34 points out of 12 matches. They have won 11 of their 12 games, and currently feature the best attack (33 goals scored) and the best defence (four conceded) in the current campaign. Valencia will provide a tough test for a Blaugrana team that will feature lots of absences, but Ernesto Valverde’s men have proven to be a competent team no matter who is out there. As long as they have Lionel Messi (who has scored eight times in his past four matches against Valencia) they will be fine. But based on their current form, it is quite hard to stop them at the moment.

Team News

As mentioned above, Los Blaugranas are quite depleted ahead of this game. Several players will be ruled out for this pivotal contest. The defence in particular will be shaky, as names such as Gerard Pique (suspension), Javier Mascherano (muscular) and Sergi Roberto (hamstring) won’t play.

Andre Gomes (thigh), Ousmane Dembele (muscular) and Rafinha (knee) are out, too, while Arda Turan (ankle) is doubtful.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona and Valencia currently sit at the top of the standings in La Liga. Los Blaugranas are in first place and currently possess a four-point lead over Los Che.
  • It is worth noting that both teams remain unbeaten during the current season. Barca have registered 11 wins and one draw in 12 matches, while Valencia has nine wins and three draws over the same span.
  • Both teams rank near the top when it comes to goals scored in the current Liga campaign. Barcelona have scored 33 times, and Valencia have one less.
  • Valencia have racked up a club-record eight straight wins after drawing three of the first four fixtures. If anything, they are clearly trending in the right direction.
  • Barcelona have the top scorer in the competition in Lionel Messi, but the Argentinian star has been particularly proficient against Valencia of late. He has netted eight times in the past four matches against Los Che.

Conclusion

Barcelona and Valencia have been extremely proficient when it comes to score goals in the current season. Both have combined to score 65 times in just 12 matches.

As such, there’s no question that we will see lots of goals in this one. Expect at least over 3,5 goals in what’s likely to be a very open match.

Verdict: Over 3,5 goals – yes

Best Odds: 11/10

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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