Valencia vs Barcelona Prediction: Back Barca to bounce back at Mestella

 | December 15 | 

7 mins read

Barcelona went down in a thrilling Derby match last weekend and they looking to bounce back on the road at the Mestella this weekend.

Our La Liga expert Mark Sochon has sent in his preview and has picked out two Betting Tips for the match live on Viaplay at 20:00 this Saturday evening...

Valencia vs Barcelona Betting Tips:

  • Back Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/5
  • Back Barcelona to Win and Over 1.5 Goals @ 19/20

Valencia against Barcelona is the Saturday night offering from La Liga. It’s a meeting of two clubs who are still in the process of trying to recover from financial problems and periods of instability off the pitch.

The loudest chants at Mestalla these days are usually reserved for their deeply unpopular board, but one of Spain’s iconic old stadiums is still capable of generating real noise for big games like this and UK viewers can catch the action at 20:00 on Viaplay.

It’s one step forwards, followed by two backwards for Barcelona at the moment. After sealing Champions League progress in late November, vital for the club’s coffers, the Catalans defeated Atletico Madrid a few days later with one of their most impressive displays of the season.

Solid foundations from which to build you would think and with key players returning to fitness, things appeared to be looking up for Barca after an unconvincing autumn.

However since beating what had been a free-scoring Atleti side 1-0, they’ve lost successive matches against Girona and Antwerp, conceding seven goals in the process with plenty of questions for Xavi who right now doesn’t appear to have many convincing answers.

His decision to start 35 year old Robert Lewandowski in a Champions League dead rubber just three days ahead of a trip to Valencia baffled many. Meanwhile Joao Felix perhaps best sums up this current Barca side with the Portuguese forward brilliant at times, but just when he appears to be hitting form, reminders are served as to why things didn’t work out at Atletico Madrid.

Felix’s inability to press was a major factor which contributed to Girona’s opening goal last Sunday and to some extent set the tone for an incredibly open game which saw the home team sliced apart time and time again by the surprise leaders.

A 4-2 defeat leaves Barcelona’s title defence in a precarious state and victories in their two remaining league games of 2023 are surely required if they want to go into the new year with a genuine chance of winning La Liga again.

The good news for Barca is that this may not be the worst time to be heading to Mestalla. Valencia are missing some key players and unlike their opponents, they have not tried to buy their way out of financial trouble which means their squad doesn’t have the kind of depth needed to survive a selection crisis.

Their start to the season was better than many expected under Ruben Baraja who steered them to survival on the final day last season. However it’s now just one point from four games and there are doubts about them at both ends of the pitch heading into this game.

The main area of concern is their inability to create chances and score goals. They failed to have a shot on target in their last home fixture, a goalless affair against Celta Vigo while the same was true last Friday in Getafe. Valencia ended a bad-tempered fixture with only nine men on the pitch and having barely ventured into the home penalty area in a game that resulted in a late 1-0 defeat.

Team News:

As a result of those two red cards at the Coliseum, Valencia are missing first choice centre-back Gabriel Paulista and young midfielder Javi Guerra, one of the real bright sparks of their season.

Andre Almeida is another strong midfield option who is still missing and perhaps most significantly captain Jose Gaya has been ruled out through injury again. His influence on this team from left back is great and his absence should see 18 year old Yarek Gasiorowski start once more in what will be a very youthful Valencia eleven.

There are no fresh injuries for Barcelona who did rest a number of regulars in the 3-2 loss to Antwerp on Wednesday. Iñaki Peña will keep his place in goal in the continued absence of Marc-Andre ter Stegen while Gavi, Marcos Alonso and Iñigo Martinez are still nursing injuries.

Xavi must decide whether to keep faith with the eleven that created plenty and had 31 attempts on goal, but looked vulnerable defensively in the Girona game. A more conservative option would be to bring holding midfielder Oriol Romeu into the eleven and give the defence a bit more protection and that’s something that punters may want to look out for here.

Match Odds:

Despite a bad week, Barcelona are the 8/13 favourites to win this game and that’s a reflection on the home team’s issues as much as anything. Valencia can be backed at 4/1 for the win while the Draw is available at 3/1.

With 11 goals in Barcelona’s last two games, the Total Goals market odds are also worth a look. You can back Over 3.5 Goals at 2/1 while Over 4.5 Goals is priced at 9/2 if you fancy this to go the way of the last two Barca outings.

In the goalscorer markets, you can back Robert Lewandowski to score anytime at 19/20. The Polish striker has missed some absolute sitters over the past fortnight but is still comfortably his team’s top scorer and most consistent goal threat.

Hugo Duro is Valencia’s top scorer with seven goals in La Liga 2023/24 and you can back Duro to score anytime at 11/4.

Bet 1 - Over 2.5 Goals @ 4/5

With a current midfield trio of Pedri, Ilkay Gundogan and Frenkie de Jong, it feels like we’ve seen a shift from Xavi towards trying to construct a more exciting, attacking side than the one that won the title largely thanks to their excellent defensive record last season.

The key question when it comes to betting on Barcelona games right now, is whether Xavi will persist with that process or whether he sacrifices one of his more talented ball-playing midfielders or perhaps drops one of Joao Cancelo or Joao Felix in favour of somebody better at the defensive side of the game.

The lack of convincing alternatives in those roles though, suggests the Barca boss will give this approach time to work and I don’t see him pressing the panic button after one bad night against Girona. We could see another quite open game here as a result and I’m backing Over 2.5 Goals at 4/5.

Bet 2 - Barcelona and Over 1.5 Goals @ 19/20

At full strength, in better form and with a noisy Mestalla behind them, Valencia might just have been capable of compounding Barca’s misery by inflicting a third defeat in the space of seven days on the defending champions. However when you consider the importance of the players they are missing, it’s hard to see that playing out here.

Barcelona have created lots of chances in their last two league games against the sides that are 3rd and 1st in La Liga. Against a Valencia side that is missing its two most experienced defenders, there should certainly be goals in this for the visitors.

Valencia are unlikely to be anywhere near as capable of exploiting the spaces or as clinical in front of goal as Girona were a week ago and I’m backing Barcelona to Win and Over 1.5 Goals at 19/20.

Mark Sochon covers La Liga for us at Betfred Insights. You can check out all the Football Betting Tips from across the team on our main Football page...

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