FC Barcelona (1st, 51pts) vs Real Valladolid (15th, 26pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2018-19 La Liga, Matchday 24
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Arthur, Jasper Cillessen, Samuel Umtiti, Rafinha, Sergi Samper, Jeison Murillo, Jean-Clair Todibo (out)
Valladolid Outs & Doutbs: Luismi, Pablo Hervías, Óscar Plano (out)
Date/Time: Saturday, February 15, 2019, 8.45pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 7.45pm GMT (UK), 2.45pm ET, 11.45am PT (USA), 1.15am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Juan Martínez Munuera
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports 1 (UK), SuperSport 7 (Nigeria), Movistar Partidazo (Spain), others
How to stream: beIN SPORTS CONNECT (USA & Canada), Eleven Sports (UK), Movistar+ (Spain), others
Following a depressing performance (but a good point!) away to Athletic Bilbao a week ago, Barcelona return to La Liga action with a full week to rest, recover and train before facing Real Valladolid at Camp Nou. After Valladolid Barça have an absolutely brutal schedule: four away games against Lyon (Champions League), Sevilla (La Liga) and two editions of El Clásico in a row, one in the Copa del Rey and the other in what could be a title-deciding league clash at the Santiago Bernabéu.
Before all that, though, Barça have to focus on beating Valladolid. Their season-best, eight-game winning streak ended at San Mamés, and now Madrid are just six points away. Because of how hard they had to work to get to second place, it’s safe to assume they won’t slip up again until the Clásico, so Barça MUST defeat Valladolid.
The visitors have won just once in their last seven games in the league, and they’ve scored just 19 goals all season. Their only goal is to go to Camp Nou and try to leave with a point, so expect a parked bus and Barça having to work hard to score goals. They must play better than they did in Bilbao, not only to beat Valladolid, but to build confidence for the crazy two weeks they’ll face after Saturday.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Roberto, Vermaelen, Lenglet, Alba; Vidal, Rakitic, Aleñá; Malcom, Messi, Dembélé
Valladolid (4-3-3): Masip; Moyano, Olivas, Calero, Nacho; Míchel, Fernández, Alcaraz; Keko, Guardiola, Villa
I want the team to come out and make a statement. It’d also be nice to see Lionel Messi score again. It’s been a while (two games): 3-0 Barça, Messi hat-trick.