Match preview: Valencia CF v FC Barcelona – Hlebruary is here…By: Natasha | February 2nd, 2013
Indeed, Hlebruary is upon us and with it, brings a load of matches that we could probably do without. Valencia, Real Madrid, Grenada, Getafe, AC Milan, Sevilla…perfect timing. Sounds a lot, but that’s actually two matches fewer than last year. Well…yay? First up is Valencia. Let the madness begin!
Barça will be without Tito for this match and he may not be back with the team until the end of March. That alone puts Barça at a slight disadvantage. Lets hope Tito has left Jordi Roura with his secret book on how to go unbeaten for a good few months.
In his pre-match press conference, Roura kindly reminded us that in recent seasons, Barça have only won there once. Looks like he’s preparing for the Hlebruary curse too. That said, the last match against Valencia earlier this season was won 1-0, but if I remember correctly, it was a very long and drawn out affair. This time we’re at the Mestalla so don’t be surprised if this ends in a draw. I would say “loss”, but I think people would implode, if the reaction of the loss against Sociedad was anything to go by…
As for team news, Valdes, Pinto, Montoya, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Mascherano, Alba, Adriano, Busquets, Song, Thiago, Xavi, Cesc, Iniesta, Pedro, Alexis, Messi and Villa will all travel to Valencia tomorrow. Bartra and Tello have been dropped, and JDS is injured, apparently. “Injured? But he hasn’t played!” I hear you say. I have no idea either. I think the Football Gods are trying to tell him something.
Expect this to be a tough match. Valencia have had some excellent players in the past (Villa, Silva, Mata, Alba, to name but a few) and that’s still the case. Soldado will be a threat, with 10 goals in 21 matches – when you’re not judging by Messi standards, that’s a lot. Valencia have won five out of their past seven matches, and Valverde, Valencia’s new coach, is responsible for their improved form as of late. So guys, lets put a stop to this, yeah?
Here’s my lineup prediction…Valdes – Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Alba – Busquets, Xavi, Cesc – Iniesta, Messi, Pedro. I doubt Mascherano will start as he’s not playing his best, to say the least, but hey, if Roura feels like Valencia are in need of a goal, Masche will be happy to oblige!
Finally, happy birthday to Piqué! We would get you a birthday present, but first, you need to keep a clean sheet tomorrow. That sounds fair to me.
We kick off tomorrow at 6pm GMT, 7pm CET. Catch you then!
Some Related Barcelona Posts:
- Mallorca – Barca La Liga Match Preview AKA Fontas VS Batra Match!
- Match preview: Rayo Vallecano vs FC Barcelona: No Defenders, Ever