Barcelona have been rather inconsistent so far this season and will be hoping to improve their performances in the coming months, starting with their clash with Valencia on Saturday.
Whilst Barcelona crushed Real Betis 5-2 in their opening home game last month, they failed to win either match on the road so far this season, meaning they’ve picked up just four points from a possible nine, leaving them in eighth in La Liga.
Valencia have also made a stuttering start to their campaign, also picking up just four points so far. A win last time out against Mallorca will gave them much needed confidence going into the clash at the Camp Nou, however the uproar the shock sacking of Marcelino has caused will undoubtedly have a negative effect on the side.
The pressure will be on the Catalan giants this Saturday to pick up three points as they aim to climb the table and close the early five-point gap that has emerged between them and Atletico Madrid.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Saturday 14 September|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||20:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Camp Nou|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||N/A|
Where to Buy Tickets
While Luis Suarez could return this weekend, Lionel Messi is set to miss yet another game as he continues to recover from a thigh strain.
The game will also come too soon for Ousmane Dembele, who faces another week on the sidelines with a hamstring problem. New keeper Neto, who provides competition to Marc-Andre ter Stegen, continues to be absent as he recovers from surgery he had last month on his left hand.
For Valencia, they will be without 22-year-old winger Carlos Soler, who has an ankle injury and right back Cristiano Piccini, who has a fractured kneecap, for the trip.
The rest of the squad are fit though with former Arsenal midfielder Francis Coquelin expected to start alongside ex-Barcelona keeper Jasper Cillessen.
|Barcelona||Ter Stegen; Semedo, Pique, Lenglet, Alba; Roberto, Busquets, De Jong; Perez, Suarez, Griezmann.|
|Valencia||Cillessen; Wass, Garay, Diakhaby, Gaya; Torres, Parejo, Coquelin, Guedes; Gameiro, Rodrigo.|
Head to Head Record
Last term both games ended in draws, with Valencia recording an important point at home in a game that finished 1-1 in October, before Messi scored twice in this fixture last season to help Barcelona come back from 2-0 down to earn a point.
They also met in the Copa del Ray final in May, and Barcelona will be hoping to extract revenge this weekend after losing that final 2-1.
As eluded to earlier, Ernesto Valverde’s side have struggled on the road this season, missing the creative spark of Messi immensely.
An eye-opening 1-0 defeat against Athletic Bilbao on the opening weekend of the season was quickly rectified as Barcelona hammered Real Betis the following Sunday. However, a disappointing draw last time out at CA Osasuna means the pressure is well and truly on against Valencia.
Valencia manager Marcelino Garcia Toral was shockingly replaced by Albert Celades this week, after a shaky start to the season. It is hard to know if this was the right move by the club however, as Valencia's players are seemingly not too pleased with the decision.
Here’s how both sides have performed in their last five games.
|Osasuna 2-2 Barcelona (31/08)||Valencia 2-0 Mallorca (01/09)|
|Barcelona 5-2 Real Betis (25/08)||Celta de Vigo 1-0 Valencia (24/08)|
|Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Barcelona (16/08)||Valencia 1-1 Real Sociedad (17/08)|
|Napoli 0-4 Barcelona (10/08)||Valencia 1-1 Inter (10/08)|
|Barcelona 2-1 Napoli (08/08)||Bayer Leverkusen 1-2 Valencia (04/08)|
With Suarez and Griezmann all likely to start in attack, Barcelona should have too much on Saturday night for a Valencia side that have struggled themselves this season.
Valencia will fancy themselves to score, with Barcelona yet to keep a clean sheet this season. However, keeping them out at the other end will be the problem and Valverde’s side should have enough to pick up their second La Liga win of the campaign.
Prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Valencia