Valencia vs Barcelona Preview

Spanish La Liga | Saturday 5 December | Mestalla Stadium | 21:30

La Liga champions Barcelona face a tricky fixture against Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Saturday night. Los Che are unbeaten at home in their last 18 league matches with 13 wins. However, Barca were the last team to beat them on their ground in a narrow 1-0 victory last year courtesy of a late goal from Sergio Busquets. 

To Win (90mins)
Valencia 15/2 
Draw 9/2
Barcelona 3/10


Valencia come into this match off the back of a 1-0 defeat against Sevilla that saw their manager Nuno Espirito Santo resign immediately after. Nuno resigned from his role as coach in the post-match news conference after seeing his side battered by Los Rojiblancos at the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. Sergio Escudero's 50th-minute winner ensured the points for Sevilla, whose cause was helped by dismissals in either half for Joao Cancelo and Javi Fuego. Nuno's men were on the back foot for long spells, with the former Rio Ave coach leaving Valencia having led the club to a fourth-place finish in La Liga last season.

Former Manchester United defender Phil Neville and fellow Valencia coach Salvador Gonzalez will take temporary charge of the club. Los Che are currently ninth on the table with five wins from 13 matches with four defeats against Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla last time out. Valencia’s best performances this season has come at the Mestalla Stadium and they’ll relish the battle against the La Liga champions. They are unbeaten at home this season with three wins from six matches having scored nine goals while conceding just twice. In fact, as mentioned above, they haven’t lost at home in their last 18 league matches, managing 13 victories. 

Captain Dani Parejo will be the key player in midfield. The Spaniard is capable of providing that moment of magic as he possesses excellent vision, sure passing ability and a fine first touch. Pablo Piatti is another dangerous player who could trouble Barcelona’s backline with his excessive pace and fantastic dribbling skills. His incredible speed allows him to swiftly get down the field and be a thorn for the opposite defenders and his quick feet give him the dubiousness to weave throughout the defence and get himself into goalscoring opportunities. Up front, Paco Alcacer is a deadly finisher who makes darting runs behind defences. The Spain international has been in top form for Valencia having scored six goals with two assists in the league.


Barcelona come into the match with six wins on the spin, scoring 21 goals while conceding just three times. Since their 2-1 defeat by Sevilla at the start of October, Barcelona have vanquished Rayo Vallecano, Eibar, Getafe, Villarreal, Real Madrid and Real Sociedad, improving game by game. The La Liga champions will be looking to extend their winning run this weekend, but know they’ll be made to work at the Mestalla Stadium. Valencia have lost just once in their last 26 matches at home, but that defeat came against Barcelona last season and the Catalans will be looking to repeat that feat. 

Luis Enrique has the best team in world football, and it's about to get stronger, with Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal eligible to play from next month. Game by game, Busquets is growing into the season. The central midfielder is the best in his position in the world and is helping Barcelona control matches. The midfielder is key in both winning the ball back for Barcelona and starting attacks. Andres Iniesta is the puppeteer that pulls the strings in midfield with his vision, technique and passing skills able to unlock any defence. When given time and space on the ball, he can produce in any given moment and Valencia will need to mark him tightly. 

With the attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar, Barcelona have South America’s cream of the crop, capable of pure brilliance. Suarez has been unstoppable with his running, clever link play and his clinical finishing in front of goal. The Uruguayan has scored 12 goals in La Liga this season with eight in his last five matches. Neymar has arguably been Barcelona’s best player this season. The Brazilian has been in devastating form with 14 goals and five assists from 12 appearances. Neymar is so good it's scary, and for Barcelona to have two of the three best players in the world makes things very difficult for their opponents.  Messi has been brilliant since returning from injury and already has three goals to his name. The Argentine superstar will look to put Valencia to the sword with dazzling dribbles, close control and superb finishing. The trio have scored 125 goals this year and Valencia’s defence could be in for a torrid evening.

Probable line-ups:

Valencia: 4-4-2
Ryan; Mustafi, Santos, Abdennour, Gaya; Parejo, Danilo, Feghouli, Perez; Alcacer, Santi Mina

Barcelona: 4-3-3
Bravo; Alves, Mascherano, Pique, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Iniesta; Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Betting Verdict: Barcelona
Barcelona are in a rich vein of form with six wins on the trot, while Valencia are without a win in their last three matches in all competitions, losing twice. Los Che are tough to beat on their turf, but with the deadly trio of Messi, Suarez and Neymar, the La Liga champions should prove too strong. Barcelona are a top bet at 3/10, but if you’re looking for more value then take the Catalans to Score In Both Halves at 7/10. 

Written by Chadley Nagel for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!