Fc Barcelona vs Valencia: La Blaugrana will now turn their attention towards La Liga and this time around, they travel to Valencia to continue their quest.
Date: Saturday, 29th October 2022
Competition: La Liga Santander
Time: 21:00 (CEST)
It’s hard to find the words to describe the agony in the hearts of every culé, following such a nightmarish early exit from the Champions League. A season meant to mark our return to the pinnacle of football, quickly took a disastrous turn, having already dropped out from the Champions League with one game in hand.
Desperation speaks from the disappointed fanbase, seeking answers to visceral doubts: who to be blamed for such a dolorous fiasco? Obviously, the first one to come to mind is the manager himself, but calling for Xavi’s dismissal is unnecessary and inappropriate.
Of course, with the recent failures still blindfolding our rationality, it’s hard to see the bigger picture, but what Xavi has been doing in less than a year of his coaching tenure at Barcelona, is more than promising, and he surely deserves some more time and support to continue his forward-looking work at the Catalan capital. Heads up. We shall rise again.
After the midweek disappointment, the Garnet and Blue will return to action against Gennaro Gattuso’s Valencia on matchday 12 of La Liga at Mestalla Stadium. Xavi’s side will look to secure all three points with the La Liga title race shaping up for the tightest contest in years.
In terms of recent form, both teams have had their own fair share of disappointments over the last couple of fixtures. Valencia have won once, drawn once, and lost thrice in their previous five games. They’ve accumulated a total of 15 points this season so far and currently sit at 9th in the league table.
On the other hand, Fc Barcelona themselves come into this game following another crucial defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League, a match that quite possibly would’ve changed their mentality going deeper into the season, as well as feeling disoriented after crashing out of that European competition and now being placed into the UEFA Europa League.
Winning at the Mestalla will be crucial for Barcelona, as they continue their chase of leaders Real Madrid to compete for their main target of silverware this season. La Liga is now seen as the utmost priority for La Blaugrana, and it is a competition where they will possibly put all their eggs in a singular basket to win it.
On the end of the opposition, a win could mark a turnaround for Valencia. Moreover, as they play in front of their understandably frustrated fans, they can gain their trust back as well while simultaneously climbing back up the table to try to regain a spot in the top quarter of the league. Given the calamity against Bayern, Xavi will possibly try to field his best available lineup for this game and try to rekindle some form of spark within the sulking Catalans.
Potential Line-up: Fc Barcelona vs Valencia
Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Stegen
The German international was the only keeper out of the two in the game against Bayern that was constantly put under threat and tried to put up a strong enough fight. Let down by his defense there, he will be hoping for better support this time around against Valencia.
Right-back: Hector Bellerin
Currently the only available natural right back, Xavi will have to trust Bellerin once more despite his rather frustrating performance against Bayern Munich midweek.
Left-back: Alejandro Balde
If his performance against Bayern wasn’t enough to show he possesses the incredible raw talent, there isn’t much else he can do to show it. Should get the nod here and be used as the primary left-back going forward.
Center-back: Jules Kounde
Nothing much he could’ve possibly done against Bayern, Jules Kounde is currently Barcelona’s safest option in defense and so far has shown exactly why major clubs were after him during the Summer.
Center-back: Eric Garcia
There is much improvement needed in Eric Garcia’s game before he can even find himself starting for Barcelona once the injured defenders return, yet will possibly be trusted by Xavi at the Mestalla to keep Valencia at bay.
CDM: Frenkie De Jong
Was used to great effect as a pivot the last time he was trusted in the role, this game could act as the perfect test to retry him in the role and conclude if he can act as the starting pivot going forward into the season.
Despite his efforts, Pedri was not able to do much to influence the game against Bayern Munich. The 19-year-old will surely go on to become a world beater, but for now, he may need to show an extra level to his game in order to influence games even better.
Rested against Bayern due to a knock he took prior to that game, he may well be fit enough to get his place back in the starting eleven and add some much-needed ferocity to the Blaugrana’s ranks.
Right-Winger: Ousmane Dembele
Regardless of the result, Ousmane Dembele was one of the only players in the game against Bayern who seemed to be playing with their hearts out. Constantly dribbling and acting as a nightmare to Alphonso Davies, a feat very rarely heard of. Should get the start here.
Center-forward: Robert Lewandowski
Lackluster once again against Bayern, it seems to be getting easier and easier for teams to counter all of Barcelona’s scoring prowess simply by nullifying Lewandowski. Xavi will need to come up with a solution if he hopes to get the best out of the Pole more regularly.
Left-Winger: Ferran Torres
The Spaniard is constantly showcasing why he acts as the perfect profile as a support for a traditional number 9, as his decoy runs, link-up play, and positional awareness also seems to be getting even better game by game.
Fc Barcelona vs Valencia
Goalkeeper: Ter Stegen
Defenders: Bellerin, Kounde, Garcia, Balde
Midfielders: Pedri, De Jong, Gavi
Forwards: Dembele, Lewandowski, Ferran Torres