FC Barcelona (6th, 4pts) vs Real Valladolid (17th, 1pt)*
*Points and positions at the time of writing on Saturday
Competition/Round: 2022-23 La Liga, Matchday 3
Barcelona Outs & Doubts: Memphis Depay, Pablo Torre, Sergiño Dest, Ez Abde, Martin Braithwaite (doubt)
Real Valladolid Outs & Doubts: Shon Weissman, Jawad El Yamiq (out), Gonzalo Plata (doubt)
Date/Time: Sunday, August 28, 2022, 7.30pm CET (Barcelona), 6.30pm BST/WAT (UK & Nigeria), 1.30pm ET, 10.30am PT (USA), 11pm IST (India)
Venue: Spotify Camp Nou, Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
Referee: Ricardo De Burgos Bengoetxea
VAR: Santiago Jaime Latre
How to watch on TV: Not Available (USA, Spain), TSN 4 (Canada), Premier Sports 1 (UK), MTV (India), SuperSport (Nigeria), others
Following a crucial victory away to Real Sociedad last week and a very good performance in the friendly against Manchester City in midweek, Barcelona return to action on Sunday evening in the Catalan capital when they welcome Real Vallladolid for some La Liga fun at the Greatest Stadium on Earth, Brought To You By Spotify.
Xavi Hernández’s men have put on two strong performances in a row after the slow start in the league opener, and with the Champions League just 10 days away there is very little time to build momentum and start taking form ahead of what is about to become a crazy busy schedule.
The transfer window is still open but Barça aren’t expected to do any major business apart from a couple of exits, so this is pretty much the squad that will fight for everything this season. There is depth and talent in all areas of the pitch, and it’s now up to Xavi to get the best out of his troops.
After the frustrating draw against Rayo Vallecano two weeks ago the Catalans have to get their first home win of the season to keep pace with the other challengers in the early days of the title race. A second straight home match without a triumph would be a nightmare scenario, and newly-promoted Valladolid arrive at Camp Nou confident after a strong performance away to Sevilla last week and will have nothing to lose.
But the Blaugrana are still clear favorites in this one and must pick up all three points without a scare to continue making strides. This is about playing well and dominating the way a true championship team does in these sorts of games. It goes beyond just winning.
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen; Araujo, Christensen, Eric, Balde; De Jong, Busquets, Pedri; Dembélé, Lewandowski, Fati
Valladolid (4-2-3-1): Asenjo; Pérez, Sánchez, Fernández, Escudero; Aguado, Mesa; Sánchez, Pérez, Anuar; Guardiola
Valladolid were very tough to beat the last time they went to Camp Nou and can be very frustrating to play against, but I’m still backing the home team all the way: 3-0 to the good guys and a strong performance.