Preview: Valencia vs. Barcelona

Barcelona will be looking to put their midweek Champions League disappointment behind them when they continue their La Liga campaign away to Valencia on Saturday night.

The Catalan outfit are currently second in the table, three points behind leaders Real Madrid, while Valencia occupy ninth position, having picked up 15 points from their first 11 matches of the season.

Valencia had been on a five-game unbeaten run heading into last weekend’s home clash with Mallorca, but they suffered a 2-1 loss to Javier Aguirre’s side, which was certainly a setback ahead of the visit of Barcelona.

Los Che have again struggled with consistency this season, winning four, drawing three and losing four of their 11 matches to collect 15 points, which has left them in ninth spot in the table; they are only three points behind sixth-placed Athletic Bilbao but just four ahead of Celta Vigo in 13th.

Valencia finished fourth in back-to-back campaigns in 2017-18 and 2018-19, but they have been ninth, 13th and ninth in their last three seasons, and Gennaro Gattuso is currently the manager tasked with helping the Spanish giants secure a return to European football.

Los Che have won just one of their last five in the league, which came at Osasuna on October 7, with Elche and Sevilla holding them to draws before they were beaten by Mallorca last time out.

Valencia have actually lost each of their last three La Liga matches with Barcelona, including a 4-1 defeat in the corresponding match last season, with their last success over the Catalan side proving to be a 2-0 victory in January 2020.

Barcelona, meanwhile, saw their hopes of reaching the last-16 stage of the Champions League come to an end on Wednesday due to Inter Milan’s 4-0 victory over Viktoria Plzen.

Having been confirmed in third spot in the section, which will see them drop into the Europa League, there was only pride to play for against Bayern Munich at Camp Nou, but the Bundesliga champions proved to be far too strong, running out 3-0 winners to make it a double over the La Liga side in Group C.

Barcelona’s European campaign has been a huge disappointment, but they have made a strong start to their La Liga season, winning nine, drawing one and losing one of their 11 matches to collect 28 points, which has left them second in the table, three points behind leaders Real Madrid.

A victory here would, temporarily at least, move Xavi’s side level on points with the reigning champions, and they are also the joint-highest goalscorers in Spain’s top flight this season with 28, while just four goals conceded is the best defensive record in the division.

Blaugrana have beaten Villarreal 3-0 and Athletic Bilbao 4-0 in their last two league matches, and they will be determined to stay within touching distance of Real Madrid heading into the break for the World Cup.

Valencia La Liga form:
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):

We say: Valencia 1-2 Barcelona
Valencia will certainly be the fresher of the two sides, and it has been an emotional week for Barcelona. Xavi will be demanding a response from his players on Saturday evening, though, and we are expecting the Catalan outfit to return to winning ways at Mestalla.

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