In the pick of this weekend’s La Liga round of 21 matches, Valencia host Barcelona at the Mestalla on Saturday afternoon. Valencia currently sit seventh of the league table while Barca sit at the top of the La Liga table, albeit only on goal difference.
Currently sitting four points from Atletico Madrid, and Sevilla in third and fourth; Valencia is struggling to hit the heights of the past two seasons where they clinched Champions League qualification with fourth place. One of the reasons for their struggles this season has been their inconsistency – an inability to string together a set of good results.
For example, Los Ches have lost two of their last three matches against opposition they are expected to do better against, including a 4-1 reverse at the hands of Mallorca at the Iberostar Stadium.
Despite winning their mid-week Copa Del Rey match, the upcoming match against Barcelona is a different and difficult challenge. That said, home advantage could come into play considering Valencia’s form at home. Albert Celades’ team are yet to lose in ten games at home, winning five and drawing the remaining. As a matter of fact, the run of not losing at home stretches back as far as April, 2019.
In the 10 matches, Valencia have remained unbeaten at home this season; they have conceded nine goals and scored 16 goals. They won three of their last five matches at home, and earned two draws too, with the two draws being 1-1 draws against Sevilla and Real Madrid. So yes, they do have a good pedigree against big or similar teams at home this season.
Barcelona began the Quique Setién era at the Nou Camp with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Granada at home, which was followed by a tedious and almost-embarrassing 2-1 victory over Ibiza (a Segunda B club) in the Copa Del Rey.
As a result of their last league win, Barca are on 43 points, same as Real Madrid, but top the table based on their superior goal difference of +25 to Los Blancos’ +15. Barcelona haven’t also been their fluent self this season. And it was for this same reason that Ernesto Valverde lost his job despite topping the table and qualifying from a tough Champions League group in first position.
The Catalan giant’s struggles this season has been their record away from home. Quique Setién’s men have already lost three times on the road this season, whereas they only lost a total of three games throughout last season.
On the road this season, they’ve also secured four wins and three draws. They away-day blues have been compounded by their efforts to break teams down away from home. In ten matches, they’ve only scored 15 matches and conceded 13.
That’s different from the swashbuckling Barcelona that the football world have come to expect. Their last two matches away from home have been draws against Real Sociedad and Espanyol.
Valencia would be missing their captain and influential player Daniel Parejo through suspension. He has chipped in with six goals and two assists in the league this season, and will be a big miss for the home side. Barcelona on the other hand will be without Luis Suarez, who often takes the goalscoring pressure off star man, Lionel Messi. Suarez’s absence could force the coach into a change of formation.
This is definitely a tricky match to predict. On one hand, you have a Valencia team that have a strong home record – they’ve avoided defeat at the Mestalla this season. And on the other hand, you have a Barcelona team that has a very good record against Valencia, especially at the Mestalla. So what gives?
The loss of Suarez is a great miss for Barcelona and they may struggle to score in this match. Valencia don’t score much at home either. For this reason, one of the safest bets you can place is for a 0-2 handicap away win for Barcelona. You can check out more betting tips and predictions on our betting tips page. This match is one of the Super9ja games. Create your Bet9ja account and enter the free-to-enter-contest. You can find information about the bookmaker Bet9ja on our website.
Collect up to ₦100.000 bonus credit at NetBet.ng using the promo code WELCOME200NG. Terms and conditions apply.
100% bonus for all new customers, up to ₦ 100,000!