Preview and Prediction
Barcelona, once again, will have a home game in the last three matches respectively with Valencia, which sits on the twelfth, as their opponent for their next outing. It will be their best chance to bump up their position to the top four for the first time this season when they could secure another maximum point this weekend.
The teams’ updated news
Lionel Messi and Co finally showed a satisfactory display, at least according to Ronald Koeman, while thumping Real Sociedad in the midweek. At first, the fear of losing again lurked as William Jose’s tap into the goal put them behind first. However, they struck back quickly to get an equaliser from Jordi Alba. Eventually, Barcelona overturned the situation and Frankie de Jong bagged their winning goal. This brought them on the fifth in the standings.
Valencia, on the other hand, has been on their negative trend since their stunning win over Real Madrid. They once again could only muster a 2-2 draw while taking on Athletic Bilbao. Carlos Soler scored an opener but Asier Villalibre put them back on a level term. Afterwards, it was the visitor’s turn to have their lead by Raul Garcia’s penalty before Manu Vallejo’s header levelled them.
Ronald Koeman seems to have found the more stable formula he wanted. His 4-2-3-1 with the transition to 4-3-3 looks better now with Messi leading the attack as well as being the false nine swapping with Griezmann. He gains support from the youngster Pedri while Philippe Coutinho may operate from the left flank to replace Martin Braithwaite who has not been effective as the left winger.
Javier Garcia is still likely to deploy 4-4-2 or he could attempt to transform it to 3-5-2 as their left flank would be limping without Jose Gaya and Toni Lato who are both ruled out. The only option left is switching Daniel Wass to the left side while Thiago Correia could take his post. At the front, Manu Vallejo and Maxi Gomez are the best choice with Lee Kang in and Denis Cheryshev or Kevin Garniero to be brought on from the bench.
Players to watch
The Argetine talisman Leo Messi was all over the place in Sociedad’s defence. The display showed how essential his role still is even if when he does not score or provide an assist. Another key man to watch is their new signing form Las Palmas, Pedri whose contribution deserves a recognition.
Los Ches relies on Carlos Soler as the anchorman in the midfield. He has netted five goals and provided three assists. Another notable figure to watch who could potentially frustrate Barcelona’s attack is the gaolie Jamie Domenech who has been fairly impressive this season. .
Barcelona vs Valencia Prediction
Los Ches’ four winless run is likely to continue here, either by snatching a draw or suffering a defeat. As long as Koeman’s men could keep up their form, climbing to the respectable position or joining the title race is quite doable.