Thursday, May 6, 2021

Prediction: Valencia vs Barcelona

Tom Dunstan in Free Soccer Predictions, La Liga 1 May 2021

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Verdict: Both teams to score

Best Odds: 4/6

Bookmaker: Unibet

Desperate to make an immediate return to winning ways this weekend, Barcelona will make the trip to The Mestalla when they face off against Valencia on Sunday night.

Valencia

Starting with the hosts, while Valencia might still find themselves sat in pole position to extend on their La Liga status this season, they have shown a host of issues once again. Holding a six-point buffer over the drop zone, The Bats were last seen putting in another worrying display on home soil. Despite managing to snatch a last-gasp point at home against fellow scrappers Alaves, Javi Gracia’s side have come under more scrutiny. While the former Watford boss might have seen his side enter March’s international break with a much-needed 2-1 win against Granada, The Whites find themselves enduring a five-match winless run since then. With their recent issues highlighted by a 3-1 drumming at the hands of Osasuna on April 21st, Valencia should at least take some solace from their remarkable record against Sunday’s guests. Including a 2-2 draw when the two sides faced off earlier in the season, Garcia’s side have lost just one of their last six meetings against the former champions.

Team News

While Valencia might be sweating over Thierry Correia’s knee injury, the 22-year-old is expected to be given the green light.

Although keeper Jasper Cillessen might have also shaken off his own knee issue, Jaume Domenech is expected to start between the sticks.

Barcelona

As for the visitors, despite taking the lead against a struggling Granada earlier in the week, it quickly became another night to forget for the former Spanish champions. Eventually hit with a stunning late 2-1 defeat at The Nou Camp, Ronald Koeman’s side know that they missed out on a golden chance to climb to the top of the La Liga table. Still finding themselves sat two points adrift of league leaders Atletico Madrid, the one-time Southampton boss saw his side’s three-match winning run come to an abrupt end in Catalonia. Knowing that Sunday’s trip to The Mestalla is a must-win meeting if they’re to keep themselves in the title chase, Barca should at least be boosted by their success on the road. Despite that 2-1 defeat against bitter rivals and defending champions Real Madrid on April 10th, Koeman’s side have mustered a hugely impressive 30 points from their last 11 La Liga matchups away from The Nou Camp.

Team News

Barcelona are expected to be without the trio of Martin Braithwaite, Philippe Coutinho and Ansu Fati on Sunday night.

Aside from those long-term absentees, Koeman has a full squad to choose from this weekend.

Key Factors to Consider

    • When the two sides faced off in the reverse fixture back in December, they played out a 2-2 draw at The Nou Camp.
    • In fact, Valencia have lost just one of their previous six meetings against Sunday’s guests, recording two wins and three draws.
    • However, The Bats have failed to win any of their five La Liga matchups since returning from March’s international break.
    • Barcelona have collected 30 points from their last 11 La Liga matchups on the road.
    • Likewise, Barca’s last three top-flight contests on the road have produced 13 goals.

    Conclusion

    While Barcelona might be smelling a real chance against a struggling Valencia this weekend, the former champions could still be reeling from their stunning collapse on Thursday night. Eventually hit with a shock 2-1 defeat on home soil against Granada, Ronald Koeman’s side have gained a reputation for their inconsistencies this season. Missing out on a chance to skyrocket their way back to the top of the La Liga table, don’t be surprised to see chances come thick and fast at both ends of the pitch this weekend. Playing out a 2-2 draw earlier in the season and with six of the last seven matchups between Valencia and Barca finishing with both teams finding the net, we’re backing a similar outcome on Sunday.

    Verdict: Both teams to score

    Best Odds: 4/6

    Bookmaker: Unibet

    ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Tom Dunstan


    Formerly of The Independent, Tom is a freelance football and boxing journalist from Essex, England. Currently working for three online publications, Tom is a graduate of the University of Falmouth and has spent the last two years writing across Australia, New Zealand and Asia. He can be followed at @IamTomDunstan

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