Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Prediction: Valencia vs Barcelona

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 13/25

Bookmaker: 888sport

An authentic clash of titans in La Liga will take place on Sunday evening, as Valencia will host FC Barcelona in Mestalla Stadium. Neither side has been going through their best run of form at the domestic level, so both will try to take advantage of the opposition’s struggles to secure a statement win. The game will kick off at 19:45 UK time, and González González will be the referee.

Valencia

The season is still on its early stages, but we shouldn’t sugarcoat this: Valencia have been one of the most disappointing teams in La Liga during the 2018/19 campaign. After shocking the world and finishing in fourth place last term, this time Los Che have not looked nowhere near that dominant side that went undefeated for more than 10 games roughly one year ago. This time, the Mestalla outfit sits in 16th place with only eight points, although they have lost just one game during the entire campaign (W1, D5, L1). Arguably their biggest problem has been their inability to translate draws into wins, as they have drawn five of their seven matches, but they have also had problems scoring. Los Che have found the back of the net just five times (conceding six) – that’s a poor return for a team with the kind of firepower they have. They are coming off a scoreless draw against Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, however, so that could lift their spirits heading into this contest.

Team News

Valencia do not have regular starters out.

However, two players are questionable since Jose Gaya (muscle) and Santi Mina (knee) will require a late-fitness test to determine their availability.

Barcelona

If we look at the standings, Barcelona shouldn’t worry… right? They sit at the top of the table with 14 points after seven games (W4, D2, L1) and have a golden chance to extend that lead since both Real Madrid and Alaves have one more game. But that “poor return” – and the fact they lost against a lower opponent such as Leganes – should definitively be a cause for concern in the Blaugrana camp. Ernesto Valverde’s men are currently riding a three-game winless run at the league level, and they must improve their play on both ends of the pitch. In fact, if we remove their 8-2 thrashing of Huesca, we can see Barca have “only” scored 10 goals while conceding six in six matches. That kind of form doesn’t scream title candidate, doesn’t it? Fortunately, they are coming off an impressive 4-2 win over Tottenham Hotspur in the UEFA Champions League earlier this week. That should boost their morale ahead of this pivotal contest on a hostile venue such as Mestalla.

Team News

Barcelona won’t have Samuel Umtiti available for this game. The French centre-back has been ruled out due to a knee injury.

As if that wasn’t enough, Sergi Roberto (thigh) and Sergi Samper (ankle) are doubtful. So this means Barca could be a bit depleted when it comes to defensive depth.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Both sides have struggled in their past five matches across all competitions. Valencia have posted a W1, D3, L1 mark, while Barca have returned a W2, D2, L1 form.
  • Los Blaugranas have the edge on the H2H record, though. They have won four of the past five meetings against Valencia across all competitions.
  • Strictly talking about La Liga, then Barca still have the lead in the past five meetings: W3, D1, L1.
  • Seven of the past 10 meetings between these two sides (across all competitions) have seen both sides scoring.
  • Barcelona are on a 18-game scoring streak in all competitions.

Conclusion

There is no question that both sides need the win here. And that could lead to a very open game. Therefore, don’t be surprised if we end up witnessing both teams scoring in this one.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 13/25

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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