Barça started the game well and Valencia had only had a couple of clearances to their name before Pedri had the first shot of note in the third minute. The blaugranes had total control of the ball and possession in the early stages, though Los Che made life difficult by flooding midfield at every opportunity.
A five-man back line also made it tough for the visitors to break through the lines, Antoine Griezmann heading over from Clément Lenglet’s cross in the 10th minute the next opportunity available to the visitors.
Ronald Araujo almost opened the scoring from Leo Messi’s free-kick, with only former Barça keeper, Jasper Cillessen’s reflex action stopping the Uruguayan from giving Ronald Koeman’s side the lead. Another incisive move opened up Valencia’s defence just after the quarter hour. Jordi Alba’s ball across the box was hugely inviting but just out of reach of any of his team-mates.
Still Barça looked to take the game to their opponents, sometimes leaving themselves exposed at the back, Guedes going close with a drive that fizzed across goal to send a warning to the visitors.
Things really began to hot up as the game approached the half-hour, Barça having a reasonable penalty shout not looked at by VAR and Messi ready to pull the trigger only for a deflection to take the ball away from him. At the other end, Racic would extend Marc-André ter Stegen as the game ebbed and flowed beautifully.
Another pinpoint Alba cross was agonisingly inches away from finding Pedri as the game headed towards the break, with the game incredibly still goalless at half-time.
Within three minutes of the start of the second half, Guedes again went close for Los Che after a swift counter-attack. From the resulting corner, Gabriel Paulista headed Valencia into the lead. In the very next attack, a second goal was almost forthcoming as Barça were put under sustained pressure for the first time in the match.
On 55, a handball from Toni Lato gave Barça a penalty. Leo Messi missed the spot-kick but after a goalmouth melee, the No.10 lashed home the equaliser.
On 62, another superb Barça move saw Antoine Griezmann put the visitors into the lead after Cillessen had palmed Frenkie de Jong’s towering header into his path, and then a magnificent direct free-kick from Messi gave Barça some breathing space with just over 20 to play.
The pattern of play for much of the remainder of the match saw the blaugranes stay on the front foot and keep Valencia at bay. In the 83rd minute, Carlos Soler fired in a rocket from outside the box which made for an uncomfortable last few minutes, however, Barça held on for a vital victory.