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FC Barcelona host Valencia at the Camp Nou (TICKETS HERE) as they look to continue their excellent form in La Liga and also capitalise on their stunning qualification for the Copa del Rey semi-finals. But after a slow start, the visitors have also finally found some decent form and are also coming into the game on the back of a cup victory.
Head to head
Valencia may be a fellow giant of Spanish football, but they have only beaten the Catalans in one of their last nine attempts in the league. Barça have won five and drawn three of those games.
Ernesto Valverde also has a fine record against ‘Los Che’. No matter which club he was managing at the time, he has never lost a league fixture at home to them, with four wins and five draws.
FC Barcelona have scored more league goals (314) than any other club against Valencia.
Valencia boss Marcelino García Toral has faced Barça 19 times over the years, including time as manager of Sevilla, Villarreal and others, and has yet to record his first victory. Five draws and 14 defeats are all he has to show for his efforts.
Did you know?
Valencia, tied with Atlético Madrid, is the club that Lionel Messi has faced the most times in his career, 25.
In those games he has scored 22 and given ten assists. A goal today would mean that he will have gone an unprecedented eleven seasons scoring at least 20 goals in the league.
Valencia got off 2018/19 off to a horrific start, with just one win in their first eleven league games, and just six games ago were still in the bottom quarter of the table, while also exiting the Champions League at the group stage and dropping into the Europa League, where they meet Celtic this month.
But things are finally on the upward curve at Mestalla, and three wins in their last five games have seen them rise to seventh in La Liga and they beat Getafe midweek to earn a Copa del Rey semi-final against Betis.
Dani Parejo is their top goalscorer in the league this season with five goals.
The Barça squad for today’s game is a as follows: Ter Stegen, Semedo, Piqué, Rakitic, Coutinho, Arthur, Suárez, Messi, Malcom, Lenglet, Samper, Murillo, Jordi Alba, Boateng, Sergi Roberto, Aleñá, Vidal, Vermaelen and Iñaki Peña (30).
Peña comes in as a replacement for goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen, who is out for around six weeks, joining Ousmane Dembélé, Rafinha and Samuel Umtiti on the treatment list.
Valencia also added a new face to their squad on the final day of the winter transfer market. Rubén Sobrino, signed from Alavés, will sit this game out, but Facundo Roncaglia, recently signed on loan from Celta, does feature, with Gayà and Guedes out through injury and Diakhaby suspended.
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