Valencia have not lost at home in 2021 and Barça have not won there in the league for three seasons - and before that there were some very close calls...
With the four candidates for the Liga title all so tightly locked together, anything less than three points in any game could prove extremely costly for any of them. And this Sunday, Barça face the tough challenge of winning at Mestalla, which has not the happiest of hunting grounds for the team of late. The last the last three games have ended thus:
2019/20. Valencia 2-0 FC Barcelona
2018/19. Valencia 1-1 FC Barcelona
2017/18. Valencia 1-1 FC Barcelona
We need to go all the way back to 22 October2016 to find Barça’s last victory at the ground, and that was only by the narrowest of margins, when a Leo Messi penalty in the 93rd minute secured a 3-2 win.
The year before the game was also decided incredibly late. There was no score until four minutes into second half stoppage time, when Sergio Busquets secured the three points with a left-footed volley.
Valencia still solid at home
Valencia are having a poor season by their own high standards, and go into the weekend just six points away from the relegation zone. Even so, their home form has not been too bad at all, and they have not lost at home since Sevilla were victorious on December 22. Since then they have won four and drawn four.
In fact, Sevilla, Atlético Madrid and Betis are the only sides to have won at Mestalla this season. It’s mainly due to their poor results on the road that the team are currently 14th in the league table.
Messi the man
But when you have a player like Leo Messi in the side, anything is possible. The Argentinian has scored 29 goals in 35 games against Valencia, making them his third highest career victim. One or two more where those goals came from will come in very handy indeed in Sunday’s fixture..