Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Prediction: Barcelona vs Valladolid

Verdict: Home win by three or more goals

Best odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

Barcelona are set to host Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou on Monday evening, in what will be the 29th La Liga match of the season for both teams. Both the home side and the visitors desperately need points in this stage of the campaign, though for very different reasons.

Barcelona

Having suffered another Champions League disappointment, this time a round-of-16 exit at the hands of Paris Saint-Germain, the Catalans still have a chance to salvage the season, being in the running for the remaining two trophies. They will face Athletic Bilbao in the Copa del Rey final later this month, and they will enter the Valladolid clash from the third place in the La Liga table, four points off Atletico Madrid at the top, and one off arch-rivals Real Madrid in second, though with a game in hand on both. What’s more, they will be facing Real in Madrid next week, and a win there, if it follows on success in this match, would put them in a very good position for the final stretch of the season.

Ronald Koeman’s team have been on very good form recently, winning their last five league matches in a row. A disappointing 1-1 draw at home against Cadiz back in mid-February was followed by triumphs over Elche (3-0 at home), Sevilla (0-2 away), Osasuna (0-2 away), Huesca (4-1 at home) and Real Sociedad (1-6 away).

But one of the main issues at Barcelona at the moment is the future of captain Lionel Messi. The Argentine superstar will be out of contract at the end of the season and he is yet to agree a new one, with a number of top clubs monitoring the situation closely, but recently elected president Joan Laporta is working hard to convince the 33-year-old to stay at the club.

Team News

With Philippe Courtinho and Ansu Fati out of action through injury, Messi is likely to be joined by Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele upfront. Sergi Roberto is, however, back to full fitness, and his vast versatility gives Koeman a number of options.

At the back, Gerard Pique is out, and his place will likely be taken by Oscar Mingueza.

Valladolid

As has been said at the start, points are very important for Valladolid too. At the moment, they sit in 16th place with 27 points, just three more than Huesca who top the relegation zone. Elche sit in between with 25, while Eibar and Alaves are scraping the bottom with 23 each. The relegation battle is obviously wide open, with at least five or six teams set to fight to stay up to the last matchday.

The time to play away to Barcelona is far from ideal for Sergio Gonzalez’s side, and the only thing that might give them some confidence going to Camp Nou will be the fact that they haven’t lost any of their last four league outings. Before that, they drew 1-1 away to Eibar and lost 0-1 at home to Real Madrid, and then came the 1-1 draw away to Celta Vigo, a 2-1 win over Getafe at home, a goalless draw away to Osasuna, and a 1-1 draw at home against Sevilla.

Team News

On the other hand, Gonzalez’s team is pretty depleted for this trip. Wingers Jota and Pablo Hervias, left-back Raul Carnero and centre-back Kiko Olivas are all sidelined through injury, while centre-back Joaquin Fernandez, captain Michel Herrero, midfielder Kike Perez, right-back Luis Perez and Roberto Jimenez have all recently tested positive for COVID-19. Winger Fabian Orellana is suspended.

Sergi Guardiola and Shon Weismann should lead the line upfront, but it will be interesting to see how Gonzalez deals with the situation elsewhere.

Conclusion

Even a fully fit Valladolid team wouldn’t stand much chance of getting away with anything against a determined Barcelona performance, and the Catalans certainly won’t have much mercy.

Verdict: Home win by three or more goals

Best odds: 19/20

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Veselin Trajkovic


Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on seven different football blogs.

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