Barcelona will look to keep the pressure on La Liga pace setters Atletico Madrid when they host Valladolid in La Liga on Sunday at 8pm (UK time).
Just four points currently separates Ronald Koeman’s side in third from the Madrid giants in first, and the Catalan club will be looking to extend their unbeaten run of 18 games in La Liga when they welcome struggling Valladolid to the Camp Nou, last suffering defeat to Cadiz in December.
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Where to watch Barcelona vs Valladolid on TV:
- UK: LaLigaTV
- US: beIN SPORTS
Scoreline prediction: Barcelona 2-0 Valladolid
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Barcelona vs Valladolid build-up, previous line-ups & injury news:
After a tentative start to his Barcelona tenure, Koeman has got his side firing on all cylinders domestically, and they are now clinging firmly to the coattails of Atleti in first, waiting for Diego Simeone’s side to slip up so they can pounce. Without the distraction of Champions League football, Koeman will now be fighting tooth and nail to make a late surge for the summit and remain hot on the heels of Atleti.
For Valladolid the current landscape is more concerning, with Sergio’s men currently locked in a relegation battle and looking to avoid getting dragged into the bottom three. Pucelanos remain three points above the drop zone, but such a slight cushion will do little to abate current apprehensions at the Jose Zorrilla.
- Barcelona (vs Real Sociedad): Ter Stegen; Mingueza, De Jong, Lenglet; Dest, Busquets, Pedri, Alba; Messi, Griezmann, Dembele.
- Valladolid (vs Sevilla): Roberto*; Janko, Fernandez*, Yamiq, Olaza; Plano, Mesa, Alcaraz, Orellana*; Guardiola, Weissman.
Ansu Fati and Philippe Coutinho remain long-term absentees for the hosts, while Gerard Pique is on the road to recovery and eyeing up a return to face Real Madrid in El Clasico on April 10.
For the visitors, Joaquin Fernandez, Michel, Kike Perez, Luis Perez and Roberto Jimenez are all unavailable, while Jota, Pablo Hervias, Raul Garcia and Kiko Olivas continue their respective recoveries on the sidelines. Fabian Orellana is also suspended, completing a threadbare matchday squad for Sergio.
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Players to watch:
- Barcelona: It’s been another season of Lionel Messi brilliance in Catalonia and the Argentine is showing few discernible signs of slowing down. The 33-year-old has ushered in the New Year by having a hand in 23 league goals in 2021 (16 goals and seven assists), more than any other player in Europe’s top five leagues, including goal fiend Robert Lewandowski. On a more micro level, Messi has (naturally) a formidable record against Valladolid, having a direct hand in eight goals across his last four La Liga games against them (four goals and four assists).
- Valladolid: This is a contest for the visitors where ball retention and composure on the ball is absolutely fundamental to getting a result, and a foothold on the game. Roque Mesa was once identified by Swansea City as a long-term successor to Joe Allen’s metronomic ball-circulation, boasting the requisite attributes to mirror the exploits of his Welsh counterpart. Unfortunately it didn’t quite work out for the diminutive Spaniard in south Wales, but he remains a key cog in Sergio’s system at the Jose Zorrilla; his ability to recycle possession and remain calm under pressure will be vital to Valladolid offering something a tangible threat in this contest.
La Liga 2020/21 recent form:
- Barcelona: WWWWW
- Valladolid: DDWDL
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