Valencia CF (9th, 15pts) vs FC Barcelona (2nd, 28pts)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Friday
Competition/Round: 2022-23 La Liga, Matchday 12
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Ronald Araujo, Andreas Christensen, Sergi Roberto, Memphis Depay (out)
Valencia Outs & Doubts: Jaume Doménech, Samu Castillejo (out), Mouctar Diakhaby, Eray Cömert (doubt)
Date/Time: Saturday, October 29, 2022, 9pm CET (Barcelona), 8pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 3pm ET, 12pm PT (USA), 12.30am IST (India, Sunday)
Venue: Estadi de Mestalla, València, Spain
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoechea
VAR: Ignacio Iglesias Villanueva
How to watch on TV: ESPN Deportes (USA), Not Available (UK, Canada, Spain), SuperSport (Nigeria), Sports18 (India), others
Following the continental disaster against Bayern Munich to add one more European embarrassment to a growing list, Barcelona return to La Liga action looking for some good news when they make the Annual Trip to Hell known as Valencia at Mestalla on Saturday Night Fútbol.
The less said about Wednesday, the better. To be painfully clear and painfully obvious, Barça suck in Europe. They’re really good in La Liga under Xavi Hernández. So their priorities should be pretty clear for the rest of the season, and winning the domestic marathon over Real Madrid to claim the league trophy would be a big achievement.
Barça have won the last two in the league after the Clásico loss, and they weren’t bad wins either as the Blaugrana dominated a couple of quality sides in Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao. The Catalans need a third win in a row in impressive fashion to bring some optimism back in the camp, but it won’t be easy this weekend.
Valencia had a very busy summer and brought a new manager in Gennaro Gattuso, who wasn’t a sexy choice by any means but has quickly proven his doubters wrong. Not only is Valencia a much better team compared to last season’s, they are actually playing great attacking football and rank in the Top 4 in both goals scored and expected goals.
They aren’t too good without the ball, however, and against a Barça team that is usually high-scoring on the road they might not be able to maintain enough of a defensive structure to have a real shot at winning this one. But you never know at Mestalla, and Barça must be at their very best.
Barça badly need a win. Valencia are always a brutal test at Mestalla. This will be fun.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Kounde, Eric, Alonso, Balde; Gavi, De Jong, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Fati
Valencia (4-4-2): Mamardashvili; Correia, Gabriel, Cömert, Gayà; Foulquier, Guillamón, Almeida, Lato; Cavani, Lino
Valencia are really dangerous going forward and will create a lot of trouble on the counter, but they’ve been vulnerable at the back in recent weeks and I firmly believe Barça will take advantage: 4-2 to the good guys.