NEWS
Saturday August 25 2018
Preview: Valladolid-Barca

Barcelona meet Real Valladolid on Saturday night to play their second League game of the new campaign.

The newly-promoted team from Valladolid will be hoping to use home support as an advantage, in what seems like an impossible order to conquer Lionel Messi and co.

Jaime Mata scored 36 goals for the Albivioletas last season but has since joined Getafe, while Valladolid’s first game of the new season ended in a 0-0 draw at Girona, a favourable result at a difficult ground.

However, Barcelona will be a whole different kettle of fish. Ernesto Valverde’s squad looked impressive in their 3-0 rout of Alaves last weekend.

Valverde might have some selection dilemmas, though, as his current squad looks fruitful, even if some players have not yet been tested while wearing Blaugrana colours.

While Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Jordi Alba, Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti pick themselves, there is still a selection question at right-back as both Sergi Roberto and Nelson Semedo have proven themselves as being viable options there.

Sergio Busquets will almost certainly start in midfield, but the other two positions are now desired by more than two midfielders as summer signings Arturo Vidal and Arthur join Philippe Coutinho and Ivan Rakitic in the running.

Still, with two great performances from Coutinho and Rakitic against Alaves, it seems as though they will both start against Valladolid.

While assuming that Valverde will go with the 3-4-3 on Saturday, the attackers who will accompany Messi may not yet have been decided.

Ousmane Dembele looks to have earned his manager’s trust and will most likely start again, however Luis Suarez has looked completely out of touch in his first couple of appearances.

The Uruguayan lacks sharpness, something that happened at the beginning of last season too, and this could possibly make Valverde turn to Malcom, the new signing from Bordeaux, as a possible option to start.

Nonetheless, Suarez still carries a goal threat and it is likely that he keeps his place in the XI.

The 21:15 kick-off promises to be a good encounter, and while it is expected that Barcelona will outclass their opponents, Valladolid should not be taken likely, especially with the home support that they have.

With players such as Messi, Coutinho and Dembele, it is likely that no matter how good Valladolid are, one moment of individual brilliance could quite simply decide the game.

Whatever the result, some good, quality football will likely be played, making it a must-watch for any Spanish football fan.

Words: @totalBarca’s Alex Argyrou

Football Italia website