Preview: Barcelona vs. Valencia
Barcelona will be bidding to return to winning ways in La Liga when they welcome relegation-threatened Valencia to Camp Nou on Sunday afternoon.
The Catalan giants suffered a 1-0 defeat at Almeria in the league last weekend, but they remain top of the table, seven points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, while Valencia have had a disastrous campaign thus far, currently sitting 18th in the table on 23 points heading into the next set of fixtures
Barcelona were knocked out of the Europa League by Manchester United on February 23 courtesy of a 2-1 loss at Old Trafford, and they were unable to bounce back in La Liga, suffering a 1-0 defeat at Almeria in the league last weekend.
Xavi’s side therefore missed the chance to move 10 points clear at the summit last weekend, but they still have a seven-point advantage over second-placed Real Madrid with 15 games left to play in Spain’s top flight.
Barcelona returned to winning ways on Thursday evening, meanwhile, recording a 1-0 victory away to Real Madrid in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi-final, with an own goal from Eder Militao proving to be the difference between the two teams on the night.
The Catalan outfit now have four straight league games against Valencia, Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid and Elche before welcoming Real Madrid for the second leg of their semi-final in the Copa del Rey.
Barcelona have the best home record in La Liga this season, picking up 29 points from 11 matches, and they will be welcoming a Valencia outfit that have collected just six points on their travels in 2022-23.
Blaugrana have won each of their last four league games against Valencia, meanwhile, and they have not lost to Los Che at Camp Nou in Spain’s top flight since April 2016.
Valencia have not played outside of La Liga since the 1986-87 season, but they are currently locked in a battle to remain in the division, currently sitting down in 18th spot in the table.
Los Che have won six, drawn five and lost 12 of their 23 league games to collect 23 points, which is just one more than Getafe in 19th, but they are only one point from the safety of 17th position.
It would be one of the biggest shocks in La Liga history if Valencia were relegated this season, but it has been a hugely difficult campaign for the club, who finished fourth as recently as 2019.
Ruben Baraja’s side will enter this match off the back of a positive result, though, having recorded a 1-0 victory over Real Sociedad on February 25.
An own goal from Igor Zubeldia proved to be the difference between the two sides, and it is certainly a result that the six-time Spanish champions can build on at this stage of the campaign.
Los Che have only scored eight times on their travels in the league this season, which is an indication of their troubles, while they have lost each of their last five La Liga fixtures away from Mestalla.
Barcelona La Liga form:
Barcelona form (all competitions):
Valencia La Liga form:
We say: Barcelona 2-0 Valencia
Barcelona will be determined to return to winning ways in the league, and the result against Real Madrid would have boosted confidence in the camp. Valencia are also in need of the points, but we are finding it very difficult to back anything other than a comfortable home success this weekend.