Jérémy Mathieu will be meeting old friends on Sunday / PHOTO: FCB photomontage

[[DES_1]] Jérémy Mathieu has a big Sunday ahead of him as he visits his former home of Mestalla (9.00 PM CET). The Frenchman was at Valencia for five seasons (2009-2014), making 177 appearances.

Barça meetings

He played in six homes games for Valencia against his current club Barça, but didn’t manage to win any of them. Three league games ended in draws (1-1, 2-2, 2-2) and there were also two defeats (2-3, 0-1). The other meeting at Mestalla was a 1-1 draw in the 2011/12 Spanish Cup semi-finals, the year FCB went on to win the title by beating Bilbao in the final at the Vicente Calderón.

Impressing Luis Enrique

Mathieu has become a lynchpin of the Barça defence this season. After starting ten of the twelve Liga games played to date, he is clearly a firm fixture in Luis Enrique’s plans, playing either at centre or left back.

The only two league games Mathieu has sat out have been away to Malaga and Almeria. He was dropped for the first game as Luis Enrique went about resting members of his squad during a hectic September schedule, while the French international missed the other game with a right soleus injury.

Mathieu and Jordi Alba

The two Barça defenders were at Valencia together for three seasons (2009-2012). Alba faced Mathieu twice at Mestalla after he’d left for Barça, and now they’re going be together at the same stadium once again, but this time they’ll both be wearing the Barça colours.