Thursday’s 1-0 El Clásico away win in the first leg of the Copa del Rey provided the perfect remedy for Barcelona after Europa League elimination at the hands of Manchester United and a shock 1-0 defeat at Almería last weekend. Coach Xavi Hernández blasted the Almería defeat as “the worst game of the season” and although they still top the table by seven points, their race for a first league title since 2018/19 could get tricky with another slip-up.
Barcelona vs Valencia LIVE ONLINE | LaLiga
With Valencia in town, the Catalan club have a chance to equal their longest league winning streak against the side, having won the last four La Liga (LL) H2Hs. And still guarding an ominous unbeaten home record this league campaign (W9, D2) means Barça may feel the odds of achieving that feat are stacked in their favour.
Valencia start this round in the relegation zone but boosted their survival chances with a 1-0 win over Real Sociedad last weekend, a result which also halted a six-game competitive losing streak. That result on a “very emotional” return to the Mestalla could fuel new manager Rubén Baraja’s mission to prevent Los Che being demoted from the top-flight for only the second time in the club’s history.
Baraja may bank Valencia’s hopes on home form, as their away record has been relegation-worthy with no wins across their last seven league road trips (D2, L5). Yet, five of those winless results have either been by narrow 1-0 scorelines or due to strikes conceded beyond the 80th minute, suggesting the visitors can stay competitive having also quelled Barça until stoppage time in the reverse fixture (L 1-0).
Players to watch: Barça’s midfield general Frenkie de Jong has more LL goals (two) against Valencia than any other club, both arriving in three-goal margin wins. His midfield battle could be with Hugo Guillamón whose five goal involvements (G1, A4) have helped Valencia pick up ten points.
Hot stat: Valencia have dropped the most points from winning positions (17 – W6, D4, L3) this league campaign ahead of the round.