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Valencia vs Barcelona match preview: Possible lineups, team news, match facts, prediction



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

Date and Time: 20th February, 4:15 PM CET
Venue: Mestalla
Competition: La Liga
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande


Once amongst La Liga’s elite names, Valencia are now no longer the esteemed footballing institution they used to be. The Spanish side have gone through turmoil in their administrative approach and have resultantly slipped to a new low in the league.

This season, Jose Bordalas’ side have been above average at best. They lurk in the bottom half of the table and sit nine points behind the Champions League spots. In their last five games, Valencia have only managed to win on one occasion — against Cadiz in the Copa del Rey. Their last league win came on the 21st of December over bottom-placed Levante.

For Barcelona, the chance to cement a top-four spot is in their hands. A win at Mestalla would take them back level on points with Atletico Madrid, with a game in hand.

What to expect from Valencia?

Jose Bordalas is not as burdened as Xavi by his team’s fitness setbacks. Only Jasper Cillessen and Gabriel Paulista are expected to miss the clash against Barcelona owing to injuries, with a complete squad available otherwise.

In the absence of the former Barcelona shot-stopper, Giorgi Mamardashvili is expected to man the goalpost.

The central defence will likely be a combination of Mouctar Diakhaby and Eray Comert. The latter was one of the better players on the field in Valencia’s defeat to Deportivo Alaves last week. Dimitri Fouquier will probably be deputed as the right-back, with Jose Gaya taking over duties on the left flank.

The four-man midfield of Bordalas’ system includes two central cogs with two wide midfielders. Carlos Soler will, in all likelihood, be accompanied by La Masia talent Ilaix Moriba who chose to leave the club in the summer. After a failed spell in Germany, Moriba signed for Valencia on loan in January in his search for redemption.

Ilaix returns to face Barcelona. (Photo by Aitor Alcalde/Getty Images)

The wide midfielders will be crucial for any counter-attacks the hosts intend to generate. Providing the width on the right flank could be Yunas Musah, who will hope to redeem himself after a horror show last week. Bryan Gil is expected to start on the opposite flank.

The two-man front line will likely consist of Hugo Duro and Goncalo Guedes. The duo have 15 goals and six assists in La Liga between them.

Probable Valencia XI: Mamardashvili; Foulquier, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Soler, Moriba, Gil; Duro, Gedes

What to expect from Barcelona?

The game against Valencia is critical to the club’s position in the domestic competition, yet Xavi’s decisions on the night will be far from simple. Barcelona face Napoli in a must-win away game in just three days. The European fixture will undoubtedly put the manager under a dilemma — whether to rest players or prioritize the league position.

In goal, there is not much choice for Xavi. Marc-Andre ter Stegen‘s position in the starting lineup is a certainty given the weight of the clash.

Ronald Araujo was touted to miss this game but has made the travelling list. As such, we expect him to directly slot in the starting XI, partnering Eric Garcia in central defence. Oscar Mingueza could likely continue at right-back after a solid display against Napoli. At left-back, Jordi Alba will look to continue his good form from the game midweek.

Mingueza will look to build on his superb performance. (Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images)

It would be unrealistic to expect Sergio Busquets to start on the bench for two successive games. Frenkie de Jong and Pedri will likely start alongside the defensive midfielder with the role of progressing the ball to the final third.

In attack, Xavi is expected to stick with the lineup from midweek. Though the attackers failed to convert chances against Napoli, the buildup and chemistry were a positive takeaway. Ferran Torres, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Adama Traore will be deployed in attack, from left to right.

Probable Barcelona XI: ter Stegen; Mingueza, Araujo, Garcia, Alba; Pedri, Busquets, de Jong; Traore, Aubameyang, Torres

Marquee Player

Goncalo Guedes

The main man. (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)

The one lethal component of an otherwise dysfunctional Valencia side has been Goncalo Guedes. The Portuguese international has enjoyed a splendid campaign under Bordalas, scoring nine goals in La Liga alone. In addition, he has also recorded five assists for his team.

The striker has, at least, a goal involvement in four of his last six games, indicating his excellent form. Given Barcelona’s high line and relatively inexperienced defence on the night, Guedes will be a constant threat at Mestalla.

Match facts

Valencia previous games: LDDWL

Deportivo Alaves 2-1 Valencia | La Liga
Athletic Club 1-1 Valencia | Copa del Rey
Valencia 0-0 Real Sociedad | La Liga
Valencia 2-1 Cadiz | Copa del Rey
Atletico Madrid 3-2 Valencia | La Liga

Barcelona previous games: DDWWL

Barcelona 1-1 Napoli | UEFA Europa League
Espanyol 2-2 Barcelona | La Liga
Barcelona 4-2 Atletico Madrid | La Liga
Deportivo Alaves 0-1 Barcelona | La Liga
Athletic Club 3-2 Barcelona | Copa del Rey

Head-to-head record

Barcelona 3-1 Valencia | La Liga 2021-22
Valencia 2-3 Barcelona | La Liga 2020-21
Barcelona 2-2 Valencia | La Liga 2020-21
Valencia 2-0 Barcelona | La Liga 2019-20
Barcelona 5-2 Valencia | La Liga 2019-20

Key Stats

  • Barcelona have failed to maintain a clean sheet in their last three games.
  • Barcelona have not lost in their last three encounters against Valencia.
  • Valencia have scored in their last nine games against the Catalans.
  • Six of the last seven meetings between these sides has had at least three goals.
  • There have been 22 goals in the last five games between these two sides.


Though Barcelona could not pull off a win against Napoli midweek, there was a significant improvement in performance. The team seemed cohesive and played constructive football. With proper finishing, Xavi certainly has a functional team at his disposal. One would expect the Catalans to walk away with three points, but not without a fight.

Barca Universal prediction: Barcelona 3-1 Valencia

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