Barcelona VS Valencia Final – LIVE Football Reddit Score 20 Feb 2022
Barcelona will be bidding to return to winning ways on Sunday afternoon when they head to Mestalla to take on Valencia in Spain’s top flight. The Catalan giants are currently fourth in La Liga, four points behind third-placed Real Betis, while Valencia occupy 12th position, eight points off the top six heading into the next set of fixtures. Valencia looked capable of challenging for a European spot this season in the latter stages of 2021, but it would be fair to say that their performances and indeed results in 2022 have been disappointing.
Los Che are in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey, drawing 1-1 with Athletic Bilbao in the first leg of their last-four contest on February 10, but they are without a victory in the league since December 20. Jose Bordalas’s side have picked up just two points from their last six matches and will enter this contest off the back of a disappointing 2-1 defeat at struggling Alaves on February 13. A total of 30 points from 24 matches has left them in 12th spot in the table, now eight points off the top six, so it is going to take a big effort in the final months of the campaign to put themselves in contention for a Europa League spot for next season.
Valencia’s home form this term has been relatively disappointing, picking up just 18 points from 12 matches, while they have lost their last two matches against Barcelona, including a 3-1 reverse at Camp Nou earlier this season. Barcelona, meanwhile, needed a 96th-minute leveller from Luuk de Jong to claim a point against Espanyol last weekend, but they remain fourth in La Liga, boasting 39 points from 23 matches.
Valencia’s 2021/22 campaign has petered out just as the previous season had when they finished 13th in the table. Jose Bordalas’ arrival has not galvanized the team as much as the board would have wanted, with Los Che currently sitting 12th in the standings. European qualification is not necessarily a distant dream, with Real Sociedad eight points clear of them in the sixth spot, although they have failed to win their last six league games.
On the other hand, Barcelona’s performances have improved definitively, with a strong end to the January transfer window boosting the morale at Camp Nou. But after clinching an important 4-2 win over Atletico Madrid, the Catalan giants have played out draws in their last two games, with the latest a 1-1 stalemate against Napoli in the UEFA Europa League.
Barcelona came from a goal down to beat Valencia 3-1 in the reverse fixture, with Ansu Fati, Memphis Depay and Philippe Coutinho on target, while Jose Gaya had scored the opener for Los Che . Jose Bordalas does not have any new injury concerns hampering his preparations ahead of the visit of Barcelona. On Sunday, the Valencia manager will be bereft of the services of two first-team players due to fitness issues.
Gabriel Paulista (hamstring) and former Barcelona goalkeeper Jasper Cillessen (calf) are on the sidelines and will not feature against the Catalan giants. Otherwise, Bordalas has a fully fit squad at his disposal, with Giorgi Mamardashvili lining up between the sticks for Valencia. In front of Mamardashvili, Valencia will line up in Bordalas’s preferred 4-4-2 formation, with twin banks of four playing in unison off the ball. The objective of this setup is to close down the passing lanes, effectively forcing Barcelona wide and bringing the imposing defenders into the picture.
The two centre-backs in question will be Mouctar Diakhaby and January arrival Eray Comert. Dimitri Foulquier and Jose Gaya, linked with Barcelona lately , will be the two full-backs, with the duo providing creative outlets down their respective flanks. Another key creative player for Valencia will be Carlos Soler. The Spanish international will aim to slice open the Barcelona defense at the earliest opportunity and look to keep a lid on Frenkie de Jong’s output. Former Barcelona midfielder Ilaix Moriba should pair up with Soler in the middle of the park.
Yunus Musah and Bryan Gil will be the two wide midfielders for Valencia, with the duo looking to be direct in their approach during the offensive phases. Hugo Duro and Goncalo Guedes will form the strike partnership for Valencia, leaving Maxi Gomez as an option off the bench.
The Catalan giants are only four points behind third-placed Real Betis with a game in hand, while they have also played a match fewer than fifth-placed Atletico Madrid, with neither team able to launch a title challenge this term; indeed, Xavi’s side are 15 points behind leaders Real Madrid heading into the next set of games. Barcelona were in Europa League action on Thursday evening, playing out a 1-1 draw with Napoli in the first leg of their knockout round playoff, with Ferran Torres netting from the penalty spot in the 59th minute.
The Catalan side have had a difficult campaign for a number of reasons, but they are very much on course for a top-three finish in La Liga, and winning the Europa League would make it a relatively successful season, especially as they need Champions League football for next term to enjoy a strong summer transfer market. Xavi’s team only have the seventh-best away record in La Liga this term, winning just three of their 12 matches, which is a slight concern heading into this game, especially as they have only been victorious once at Mestalla in Spain’s top flight since October 2016.
Valencia will again be missing Jasper Cillessen and Gabriel Paulista through injury, but the home side do not have any other fresh issues heading into the clash with Barcelona. Head coach Bordalas is expected to make changes from the team that started against Alaves last time out, with Bryan Gil, Hugo Duro and Dimitri Foulquier all bidding to return to the first XI.
There is likely to be a spot in midfield for former Barcelona youngster Ilaix Moriba, while Carlos Soler and Goncalo Guedes will be certain starters for the home side at Mestalla. As for Barcelona, Dani Alves and Gerard Pique will both miss the match through suspension, while Ronald Araujo, Clement Lenglet and Samuel Umtiti are out through injury, so the visitors have issues at the back.
Sergino Dest is likely to come into the side at right-back, while Oscar Mingueza could be pressed into action in the middle of the back four alongside Eric Garcia. Memphis Depay, Sergi Roberto and Ansu Fati are also out through injury, but there will be a return for Sergio Busquets, who was named on the bench against Napoli, while Gavi might also come into the front three. Ferran Torres is again likely to lead the line for the visitors with support from Adama Traore, meaning that Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Nico Gonzalez could both drop down to the bench.
After falling out of the top four with their draw to Espanyol last week, Barcelona look to get back into the Champions League spots when they travel to Valencia on Sunday. Xavi’s men are in fifth place and three points back of Atletico Madrid, while Valencia are on a bad run of form, sitting in 12th place with 30 points. A battle of two teams with quality in attack but little at the back, it could be a high-scoring affair at the Mestalla.
Valencia: Jasper Cillessen is out with a calf injury, while Tony Lato and Yunus Musah are a yellow card away from serving a suspension. Star centerback Gabriel Paulista has returned to training and is expected to soon see the pitch for the first time in fourth months. Valencia desperately need him with very little depth behind him, resulting in one of the most inconsistent defenses in La Liga. Valencia have conceded in 12 of their last 14 games.
Barcelona: The injury list is long for Xavi with Sergi Roberto, Samuel Umtit, Ansu Fati, Clement Lenglet, Memphis Depay and Ronald Araujo all hurt. On top of that, no Gerard Pique for Barca after his red card against Atletico Madrid. So Xavi will have to turn to a backline with Eric Garcia likely leading the way, while Oscar Mingueza will probably join him after playing right back over Sergino Dest against Napoli on Thursday.
In reality, perhaps a City win should not have been taken for granted no matter how underwhelming Spurs had looked in recent weeks. After all, something seems to happen to Pep Guardiola’s players when they face off against this particular opponent. This was the fourth of the last five Premier League meetings between these two to end with Tottenham victorious, as they were in such dramatic fashion in the 2019 Champions League quarterfinals.
The stakes might have been slightly lower on Saturday but this was no less dramatic, City’s lengthy pursuit for a second equalizer seemingly ended by a Riyad Mahrez penalty in injury time only for Harry Kane to strike his second of the game moments later. There is still a long way to go this season, but there will be those on Merseyside, in north London and Manchester who wonder if this may be a pivotal moment in it.