Barcelona looking to send a message to title rivals against Valencia

Barcelona host Valencia at Camp Nou this afternoon in a game that could confirm the Blaugrana have turned a corner rather than hit upon another false dawn.

Valencia have drawn three and lost one since they beat Real Madrid 4-1 at Mestalla but remain capable of performing against anyone on their day, especially if they have a shot at upsetting a historic rival as explained by Diario Sport.

Barcelona have been on a good run after a shaky start, beating Levante and Real Sociedad in consecutive matches at Camp Nou and climbing up the table.

Image courtesy of Diario Sport.

Ronald Koeman is beginning to find a tactical plan that’s delivering consistent results domestically as well in Europe, and has extra motivation given that he’s facing his former club.

The Barcelona coach spent 34 games in charge of Valencia during the 2007/08 season, winning the Copa del Rey only to be dismissed five days later. He’s never hidden his annoyance at the way that exit was handled and will be gunning for revenge.

Barcelona’s injury problems are beginning to subside. Junior Firpo became a father during the week and so will miss the game, as will longer-term absentees Gerard Pique, Sergi Roberto, Ansu Fati and Ousmane Dembele.

Koeman is expected to make few changes to the team that saw off La Real midweek, with one potentiality being Clement Lenglet coming into the centre of defence at the expense of Oscar Mingueza. Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba are set to continue either side of the centre-back pairing.

Frenkie de Jong is also expected to continue in the more advanced midfield role that saw him score his first goal of the season against La Real, balancing the centre with Sergio Busquets holding deeper.

Image courtesy of Diario AS.

Pedri and Lionel Messi are set to continue in their role through the centre, while Martin Braithwaite and Antoine Griezmann should take up the wide roles either side of the diminutive pair.

Maxi Gomez and Jose Gaya are back for Valencia but Hugo Guillamon, Kevin Gameiro, Jasper Cillessen and Toni Lato will all miss out. Lato is self-isolating after proving a close contact for a positive Coronavirus case in recent days.

The leading trio of La Real, Atletico Madrid and Madrid are six points ahead of Barcelona, so victory could send a clear message that the Catalans aren’t out of the title race by any means.

Featured image courtesy of Diario AS.

Tags Barcelona Valencia