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This one often throws up plenty of incidents and Valencia v Barcelona is always one of the stand-out La Liga fixtures when it comes around.
Neither side are flying at their highest domestically, but are still capable of putting on a show, while their meetings in recent years have always delivered goals.
Valencia are having yet another underwhelming season in midtable, while Barcelona are showing signs of improvement after a poor final half of 2021.
We’re all set for an exciting game on the south-east coast of Spain so stick around for our expert football betting tips for Valencia v Barcelona.
The first thing that has to be said about this fixture is that it usually delivers on the goals front.
Eight of the last nine meetings have seen both sides score, while we’ve seen at least four goals per game in the last three clashes.
But a look at the home and away tables gives us a bit of an indication as to where the points might end up. Valencia have the eleventh-best home record in La Liga, despite losing just twice at the Mestalla. Half of their home games have ended all square.
And it’s a similar story for Barca, who themselves have tasted defeat only twice on the road this campaign, but are also drawing too many, with seven stalemates to their name from 12 away outings.
With that in mind, plus the fixture’s history for goals, we think a Draw and Both Teams to Score is the way to go here. You can pick this up with the best betting sites at around the 18/5 mark (bet365).
After back-to-back fourth-place finishes between 2018 and 2019, there was hope that Valencia could kick on and make a sustained challenge to the La Liga elite.
But ninth and 13th place finishes have followed in the years after, and with Los Ches sitting in 12th position, they’re in a halfway house between having no danger of relegation, but slim hope of qualifying for Europe.
Their recent form isn’t helping them. Their last league victory came before Christmas and they’ve failed to pick up a win since then, losing four and drawing two of their six games since New Year’s Eve.
But those two solitary points did come in games against Atletico Madrid and Real Sociedad – both of whom sit in the top six in LaLiga – so they have a knack for stepping their game up against the big boys. We expect the same when Barca come to town.
Fortunately, Valencia boss Jose Bordalas has no fresh injury or suspension concerns.
Super Cup defeat to Real Madrid, as well as a Copa Del Rey loss to Athletic Bilbao had threatened to undo the hard work done by Xavi and his somewhat new-look Barcelona side.
But the Blaugrana have responded well to that pair of setbacks, beating Alaves and hammering Atletico Madrid in the fortnight that followed.
And we saw the gritty side of Barcelona in their last league outing against local rivals Espanyol. They were staring down the barrel of only their second defeat in 13 games, before Luuk de Jong rescued a point in the 96th minute to keep the Catalans’ good run going.
It remains to be seen how much will be left in the Barca tank after their home clash against Napoli in the play-off round of the Europa League, so that adds further ammunition to the suggestion that a draw against Valencia would represent a positive return for both sides.
A few defensive injuries continue to hamper Xavi, with Ronald Araujo joining the likes of Sergi Roberto and Clement Lenglet on the treatment table.
This is a classic La Liga fixture, with the two sides meeting on 42 occasions over the years.
As is expected, Barcelona have the upper hand in regards to victories, with 21, while Valencia are way behind on seven. That said, Los Ches have avoided defeat in three of the six most-recent meetings.
The Mestalla is one of the most traditional stadiums in Spain and celebrates its 100th birthday in May of 2023.
The 48,000 capacity makes it the 8th largest ground in the country, but it certainly punches above that weight when it comes to atmosphere.
Irrespective of the two sides’ positions in the league table, it’s still fair to suggest that we are in for an exciting clash on Sunday evening.
Valencia’s season is at a crossroads, but a good result could spark a run of form that sees them make a late charge for Europe, while Barca need to keep racking up points to secure Champions League football next season.
We reckon those aspirations are likely to cancel each other out in the form of a draw.