FC Barcelona (5th, 20pts) vs Valencia CF (12th, 14pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2020-21 La Liga, Matchday 14
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ansu Fati, Gerard Piqué, Sergi Roberto, Ousmane Dembélé (out)
Valencia Outs & Doubts: Hugo Guillamón, Jasper Cillessen, Kévin Gameiro, Toni Lato (out)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 19, 2020, 4.15pm CET/WAT (Barcelona & Nigeria), 3.15pm GMT (UK), 10.15am ET, 7.15am PT (USA), 8.45pm IST (India)
Venue: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Alejandro José Hernández Hernández
VAR: José Luis González González
How to watch on TV: beIN SPORTS (USA & Canada), LaLigaTV (UK), SuperSport (Nigeria), Movistar LaLiga (Spain), Not Available (India), others
Following a very important win against La Liga leaders Real Sociedad in midweek, Barcelona are right back in action in the league with another home game against a tough opponent, this time Valencia at the Greatest Stadium on Earth.
Barça finally won a big game this season and did it thanks to a truly impressive first half performance, and while the second half was bad they still managed to hold on to three massive points and are right back to Champions League contention after two straight wins in La Liga.
But as the second half on Wednesday showed very clearly, consistency is still this team’s biggest problem. Barça are yet to win three in a row in the league, and doing so would be a massive step towards a possible title dream thanks to a huge clash between Sociedad and Atlético Madrid next week. If they take points from each other and Barça keep winning, what seemed impossible less than a week ago might start to become reality.
We can’t look ahead, though. Valencia are coming to Camp Nou this weekend and while this is a team in bad form (just one win in six and four games without a victory) that lost a lot of very important players over the summer, this is still Valencia with enough talent to cause big trouble to the Blaugrana. Barça must replicate the first half against La Real and do it for more than just 45 minutes to make sure they win and make this a solid winning streak to maybe go into 2021 with a chance to compete for trophies.
Barça are winning and looking okay, Valencia are not winning and are not looking okay. Should be a win, right? Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona can’t guarantee wins, so this could be quite nervous.
Barcelona (4-2-3-1): Ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Pjanic, De Jong; Griezmann, Pedri, Braithwaite; Messi
Valencia (4-4-2): Jaume; Wass, Gabriel, Diakhaby, Gayà; Musah, Soler, Racic, Cheryshev; Gómez, Guedes
Valencia’s form doesn’t matter. They will make this a game, and I can’t quite trust Barça yet because of the second half they played against La Real. Still, I’m an optimist: 3-2 to the good guys.