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Following the international break, FC Barcelona return to Liga action on Saturday at 9.00pm CEST, with Valencia coming to the Catalan capital.
After dropping points in both away games (in Bilbao and Pamplona), Barça will be hoping to continue the home form that saw them put five goals past Real Betis in their first official outing at the Camp Nou.
A return to the Camp Nou
The game will be the second held at the Camp Nou this season, after the spectacular 5-2 win against Betis. The two teams are level on 4 points at this early stage of the season.
Valencia defeated Barça in last season’s Copa del Rey Final, but they have only beaten the blaugrana twice in the last 24 attempts in La Liga. But both those Valencia wins have come in their last six visits to Camp Nou, in 2014 and 2016, and last season they came away with a draw (2-2).
Kevin Gameiro and Dani Parejo put the visitors 2-up in that game, but a brace from Leo Messi meant it ended all square.
Like Barça, Valencia have four points from their first three Liga encounters. After being held to a 1-1 draw with Real Sociedad and losing 1-0 at Celta, they recorded their first win of the season a fortnight ago by beating newly promoted Mallorca 2-0.
The current Copa del Rey holders sacked manager Marcelino this week and his replacement, former Barça midfielder Albert Celades, has only had a few days to get to know his new squad in preparation for this game and the side’s opening Champions League fixture away to Chelsea.
The game will also mark a return to the Camp Nou for Jasper Cillessen, who joined Valencia from Barça in the summer.
Celades will be without the injured Cristiano Piccini and Carlos Soler, with both out with long term injuries. Thierry Correa, Manu Vallejo, Eliaquim Mangala and Rubén Sobrino have been left out for tactical reasons.
Facts & Stats
Leo Messi has scored 24 Liga goals against Valencia in his career, and combined with 10 assists this is the team against which he has the second highest goal involvement, topped only by his record against Sevilla.
Antoine Griezmann tends to shine against Valencia too. He has five goals and two assists from his last six meetings with the side (playing for Atlético Madrid).
Valencia’s top marksman against Barça is Parejo, with three goals in 12 attempts.
The FC Barcelona Squad
Included in the 20-man squad list areTer Stegen, N. Semedo, Piqué, I. Rakitic, Sergio, Todibo, Arthur, Suárez, Lenglet, M. Wague, Griezmann, Jordi Alba, Aleñá, S. Roberto, F. De Jong, Vidal, Junior, Iñaki Peña, C. Pérez and Ansu Fati. Out through injury are Messi, O. Dembélé, Neto and Umtiti.
Views from Valverde
FC Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde: "I imagine that the game will be similar to last year's. Valencia have changed coach, but that was just two days ago and there hasn't been much time for them to change many things. They come into the game off a spell of good results and will play in a similar way. They are a clear example of a classic 4-4-2 side, who play very well on the counter -as we saw in the Copa del Rey final."
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