The post-Lionel Messi era at Barcelona has predictably not gone to plan, with the Blaugrana in almost uncharted territory as they languish in ninth place in La Liga and bottom of Group E in the Champions League, so the emphasis on Ronald Koeman getting a win here against his former club is quite simply enormous.
Patience is wearing thin in Catalonia for Koeman, who entered the international break licking the wounds from successive defeats, both domestically and continentally. Barca capitulated in Lisbon as they lost 3-0 to Benfica in Europe, before Spanish champions Atletico Madrid inflicted a 2-0 loss a fortnight ago.
With talk of dressing-room unrest, former players having a dig at Koeman in the public domain, notably Miralem Pjanic and Luis Suarez, as well as no Messi to bail the club out and pave over the cracks of some profligate transfer spending, which is putting it mildly, things are not looking particularly rosy at the Camp Nou.
Valencia are not much better. Their own demise saw a fire sale unfold last summer and they are now only starting to get to grips under summer appointment Jose Bordalas, who has won just one of his eight La Liga games against Barcelona, and has his side just a place above the Catalonians in the table.
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Barcelona vs Valencia: Match Stats
Maxi Gomez is yet to really get up and running this campaign, with the Uruguayan netting just the single La Liga goal to date, but he would have earmarked this fixture as a potential scoring one. He has netted six goals in his eight games against Barca in the Spanish top flight, his joint-highest tally against a single opponent in the competition (also six against Real Sociedad). In fact, the 25-year-old has bagged in four of his last five La Liga games against them.
For Barca, Memphis Depay has been their reliable goal-getter this term with three goals, more than any other player in La Liga. With stop-gap Luuk de Jong netting just the single goal since his bizarre transfer from Sevilla, and Sergio Aguero only just returning from injury, Depay will once again be the man looked to for final-third inspiration, though it is certainly timely that Ansu Fati is back in the fold following a protracted stint on the sidelines.
25 May 2019 – Barcelona 1-2 Valencia – Copa del Rey
Valencia’s record at the Camp Nou is actually pretty formidable. They are the away team with the most goals at Barca’s ground in La Liga since 2013/14, netting 14 times in eight games, though it must be noted that the Catalonians have suffered defeat in just one of their last 10 league games against the coastal club.