FC Barcelona head to Mestalla to take on Valencia CF at the weekend on matchday 25 in La Liga. This will be their 174th La Liga meeting between the two Spanish clubs. Barcelona are the obvious favourites in head-to-head clashes, having celebrated a victory on 85 occasions so far; Valencia have grabbed a triumph 43 times to this day, and a significant number of even 45 matches have ended in a draw.
Their most recent game was played on October 17, 2021, when the Blaugrana won 3-1 at home a the Camp Nou in Barcelona.
The Catalan giants are currently fourth in La Liga, four points behind third-placed Real Betis. At the same time, Valencia occupies 12th position, eight points off the top six heading into the tight fixtures in all competitions. Barcelona competes in the UEFA Europa League, and Valencia is in the Copa Del Rey semifinals.
The target of both teams while facing each other will be the European spots. The Catalan club needs a win and three points to keep their position in the top four more robust as Atletico Madrid is chasing them with a few points gap. But they will have relief as Atletico lost to Levante in the midweek game.
Valencia also needs three points to keep their hopes to qualify for the European matches next season. But their recent performances in 2022 is not so good, and they cannot lose any more points. Their home record is very disappointing this season. They picked up just 18 points from 12 matches.
In the last match, Valencia lost to Alaves for two goals. Meanwhile, Barca grabbed a point against Espanyol in the local derby after Luuk de Jong scored the equaliser in the added minutes.
This season, Valencia manager Jose Bordalas has used three different goalkeepers, mainly due to Jasper Cillessen’s injuries. Against Barca, the Dutch goalkeeper will be again absent, and the 21-year-old Giorgi Mamardashvili will start on goal.
Brazilian defender Gabriel Paulista will also be out due to injury.
Former Barca midfielder Ilaix Moriba will face his old club after moving to RB Leipzig in the summer. He moved to Valencia in the winter transfer window after the lack of playing time in Germany.
For Barcelona, Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti will miss the match due to injuries. Gerard Pique and Dani Alves will be out due to suspensions.
Due to injuries, Memphis Depay, Ansu Fati and Sergi Roberto are also ruled out. Ferran Torres will start the game against his old club, where is started his professional career.
Valencia (4-4-2): Mamardashvili – Correia, Comert, Diakhaby, Gaya – Foulquier, Soler, Moriba, Gil – Guedes, Duro
Barcelona (4-3-3): Ter Stegen – Dest, Mingueza, E. Garcia, Alba – F. de Jong, Busquets, Pedri- Traore, Torres, Gavi
Kick-off: Sunday 20 February, 15:15 (GMT)
Venue: Estadio De Mestalla, Valencia
Referee: Carlos Del Cerro Grande