After our pragmatic, yet impressive win away against Madrid at the Bernabeu, we now turn our attentions back to La Liga for yet another vital game. At 4:15pm local time, in the afternoon kick off, Barça will be facing Valencia live from the Spotify Camp Nou.
After our setback against Almeria last weekend, its important we bounce back with a much improved performance. A positive result however is the most important thing. In midweek against Real Madrid, we played a very different type of way. It was much a much more defensive performance, with every single player putting in an incredible shift. To keep Real at bay. Although it’s obviously not how we want to play, and is nowhere near how good we can play. It did prove a lot about what Xavi and this team are capable of.
We can change setups and ideas depending on the opponents- and still come out with an effective result. Even if it means sacrificing some of our core values.
A quick look at our opponents:
Valencia, along with Sevilla are two of the most iconic clubs in Spain. With both going through an incredibly difficult season. Proven only by Valencia’s current league position, which is 19th. Something that no one expected to see at the start of the season.
Valencia are a team battling for their life in the league, and always make things difficult for Barça. Despite their current form, games against Valencia are never easy. The last result for barça against Valencia proved just that. We came away with a 1-0 win on the day. But it took a late minute Lewandowski winner to get us over the line. A player who we wont be able to rely on this afternoon. Throughout the season so far, they’ve managed to score a total of 27 goals and have conceded the same exact number of goals.
They won their most recent game 1-0 at home to Real Sociedad. However had lost the 4 previous games. A positive result is the most important thing for us today. And considering our absentees, we’re going to have to put in a big effort to get the job done.
Like I’ve mentioned previously, we’re coming into this game with a whole host of absentees. Pedri and Dembele are all still out of action. Lewandowski is almost ready to join back, but he wont make it in time for today’s game. Gavi is suspended after picking up his 5th yellow card last weekend. And we wont even be able to have Xavi on the sidelines, after he picked up his 5th yellow card too.
So, when it comes to the lineup, I think its going to be pretty similar to how we lined up in El Clasico. The good thing about not being in Europe anymore, is the fact that we are going to have more rest days during the week. This should mean that we can field our strongest lineup in mos games, instead of rotating every 3 days. That’s exactly what we have to do today. Go for our strongest possible team, ahead of a full week’s rest before our next league game.
Christensen is the only uncertainty, as he still has ankle discomfort. So if he isn’t fit to start, I’d play Alonso again at left centre back. He had a very good performance against Real Madrid, so he’s at least earned his spot. Balde has to keep his place too. His pace is going to be very important for us. And after that performance in midweek, there’s no reason to break up that back line.
I think we’ll go with a midfield three of Kessie, Frenkie and Busi. With an attacking trident of Ansu, Ferran and Raphinha. We could also see appearances for Alarcon, Estanis Pedrola and Torre too as the game goes on.
Kounde- Araujo- Alonso- Balde
Kessie- Busi- Frenkie
Raphinha- Ferran- Ansu