The last time these two sides met Valencia won the game and lifted the Copa del Rey, further marring a Barcelona season that started so well but ended with two horrendous defeats. The new season has now begun and both teams are not performing up to their usual high standards.
Barcelona host Valencia in a match that demands nothing but perfection from the men in blaugrana in order to gain three points. Luis Suarez is fit and looks set to feature for the team, maybe even appearing as a starter, while Lionel Messi is sidelined yet again due to injury.
Let’s see the three things Barcelona can do to win against Valencia:
Start Arthur Over Sergi Roberto
Well begun is half done and it can’t be more emphasized in the case of the Blaugranes. They play amazing football when they start well but when it doesn’t click, it’s a horror show. Dominating right from the start will prove extremely useful against a side which has fast attackers and likes to steal possession. Arthur popped up with a fabulous goal last time out and should be given the start over Sergi Roberto who, even though he has performed well, suffers when it comes to controlling the game. Dominating from the start will enable Barca to create attacking chances early on and put pressure on the opposition.
Watch out for Parejo
Dani Parejo has been crucial for Valencia and has scored twice for his team this season, both from the penalty spot. Not just that, he has attempted the most amount of shots (2.5) and attempted the most passes (70) with an accuracy of over 86%. He was also instrumental for the national side when they trounced Faroe Islands 4-0, creating six scoring chances with a passing accuracy of 92%. He will look to carry forward this form and cause problems for Barcelona and must be taken care of at all costs. Barcelona were ahead against Osasuna when a last-ditch penalty saw them drop points again. Parejo is a very clinical penalty kick taker, so it’s imperative Barcelona do not commit fouls in dangerous areas.
Play to De Jong’s strengths
While Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann have performed well with their national teams, they have been unable to replicate their form for the club, and one of the most pressing reasons is the positions they have been playing in. While the Dutch youngster is a midfielder, he has been seen playing down the wings. Meanwhile, his performances over the international break for Netherlands were a reminder of just how effective he can be in his favoured position. While fitting all the players into their best position can be a tricky task, it has not been done well this season. Even though Valverde has a world-class squad, they will be unable to perform to their best if this continues. Pre-season is gone and with big matches coming up, the time to experiment is over. Barcelona have to play their first team with the players in their best positions during the game, at all costs. The match against Valencia will be a stepping stone to achieving this and Barcelona must make the most out of this home fixture.