Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 8
Barcelona Outs and Doubts: Samuel Umtiti, Sergi Roberto, Sergi Samper, Carles Aleñá (out)
Valencia Outs and Doubts: Santi Mina (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, October 7, 2018, 8.45pm CET (Barcelona), 7.45pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 12.15am IST (India)
Venue: Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia, Spain
Referee: José Luis González González
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), SONY TEN 2 (India), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), others
After a fantastic game, performance and victory at Wembley against Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, La Liga champions Barcelona are back to domestic competition again, and it could not be a tougher challenge: the Blaugrana are away to Valencia at the Mestalla, a historically difficult place for Barça to play, and they really need to recapture the magic from Wembley to win this one.
That’s not to say Valencia have been an unstoppable force this season. Their first two months have been well below the standards they set last season, and they’re yet to win at home in the league or Europe. But two very good results away to Real Sociedad and Manchester United in the last seven days will boost their confidence to face Barça.
Plus, every team raises their level to play Barça anyway, which means the Catalans will need to be at their A-game to win here. If they don’t, that’s four games without a victory in the league, and it’ll become more and more clear that Barça might not care about La Liga a lot this season.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Semedo, Piqué, Lenglet, Alba; Rakitic, Busquets, Arthur; Messi, Suárez, Coutinho
Valencia (4-4-2): Neto; Piccini, Gabriel, Garay, Gayá; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Rodrigo, Gameiro
It’s still early to say Barça don’t care about La Liga, but the recent performances certainly make you believe they don’t. But Valencia away is always a tough tie and Barça usually take it quite seriously: 2-1 to the champions.