Monday, June 24, 2019

Prediction: Barcelona vs Valencia

Verdict: Half-Time Draw/Full-Time Barcelona

Best Odds: 7/2

Bookmaker: 888sport

Barcelona will be keen to put the Champions League disappointment behind them when they lock horns with Valencia in what’s likely to be one of the most interesting La Liga fixtures this weekend.  

Barcelona

Barcelona are bleeding following the devastating 3-0 defeat in Rome which saw Ernesto Valverde crash out of the Champions League in a remarkable fashion.

The Catalans were unable to preserve a huge 4-1 lead from the first leg at Camp Nou and ended up leaving the Europe’s elite competition on away goals. The loss in Italy saw the end of their 19-match unbeaten run and caused quite a havoc in the dressing room with Gerrard Pique reportedly questioning Ernesto Valverde’s tactical choices. The former Athletic Bilbao boss is not being given any assurances over his Barcelona future and will be eager to make a swift return to winning ways in order to convince Barcelona board that midweek disappointment in Rome was just a flash in the pan. Three points against Valencia would put Barcelona one step closer to La Liga glory, six rounds before the end of the season. Sitting top of the league with an 11-point advantage ahead of Atletico Madrid, Barcelona will know much better than to surrender to complacency – more so with a Rome defeat still resonating hard in their hearts.

Team News

Cup-tied Philippe Coutinho is once again at disposal after missing out on his team’s Champions League disappointment.

Sergio Busquets and Lucas Digne remain fitness doubts, whereas Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is set to undergo a fractured figure surgery.

Valencia

Only one defeat in their last ten La Liga matches serves as a great testament to Valencia’s strength this season. Marcelino Garcia Toral’s men recovered brilliantly from the six-match losing run late in January and early in February to embark on a fantastic run which saw them claw all the way up to the third place in the La Liga standings.

Only three points behind the second-placed Atletico Madrid, Los Che will try to finish the season on a high. Knowing they remain one of the few sides to deny Barcelona this season, Valencia will be keen to build up on the 1-1 draw at Mestalla in November 2017. The in-form team of the Spanish top tier will be looking to punch Barcelona while they are still on the ground and repeat their heroics from April 2016 when Valencia recorded a dramatic 2-1 win at Camp Nou. Four Valencia players who took part in that triumph are still in the team – Parejo, Rodrigo, Santi Mina and Jose Luis Gaya – and there is no doubt they will be eager to replicate the heroics in order to grab a firm hold of the Champions League spot.

Team News

Toni Lato is suffering form a hamstring problem, whereas Francis Coquelin is unavailable due to an Achilles problem.

Javi Jimenez is ruled out through a knee injury while Antonio Latore is experiencing a groin issue.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Barcelona have yet to lose a single La Liga game this season
  • Valverde’s men are 11 points clear of their nearest rivals Atletico Madrid
  • The Catalans are unbeaten in their last five encounters with Valencia
  • Los Che have yet to lose any of their last nine La Liga matches
  • Valencia lost four (and won only one) of their last 5 trips to Camp Nou

Conclusion

Barcelona are like a wounded animal and will be extremely keen to stop the bleeding with three new points that will take them one step closer to achieving the domestic glory this season. Champions League elimination was a devastating blow for Ernesto Valverde’s men who, we believe, will be eager to make a strong response.

Verdict: Half-Time Draw/Full-Time Barcelona

Best Odds: 7/2

Bookmaker: 888sport

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