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(TOP: Valencia’s striker Marcos Andre – right).
Barcelona will look for a statement win in this clash, with the Catalan club looking to re-establish their credentials as one of the best teams in La Liga after recent struggles. Veteran defender Gerard Pique insists that the team can challenge for the title this season.
“We’ve had a change of president and changes of coaches recently and what we need is stability. We have to all pull in the same direction. It is of no help to the team if there is no unity,” said Pique.
Valencia, meanwhile, have shown signs of promise and progress under Jose Bordalas, though he is keen to see the team spend more time under his tutelage before pundits judge how far they come.
“I don’t like to compare with other seasons,” said Bordalas. “This has just started and we have to continue improving aspects of the game. I am happy with the team but we have to improve, we have conceded many goals in what we have been in season. It is too early for any analysis. We are still in a period of growth.”
Ansu Fati – Now wearing the number 10 jersey formerly owned by Lionel Messi, Fati has become a similarly talismanic figure for Barcelona. The African-born attacker brings a vibrancy and aggression to his play that no other Blaugrana player can match.
Carlos Soler – After overcoming a recent injury, Carlos Soler will hope to pick up where he has left off. The midfielder represents all the best promise and optimism around Valencia – a club which is at war with its ownership but remains in love with players such as the 24-year-old Spanish international.
In head-to-head stats, Barcelona and Valencia have met in 65 matches across all competitions dating back to 1994, with the Blaugrana claiming 33 wins compared to 14 for Los Che, while 18 games have been drawn.
Barca took four points off Valencia in the teams’ two La Liga meetings last season: a 2-2 draw at the Camp Nou in December 2020 and a 3-2 win at Estadio de Mestalla in May 2021, which featured two goals for Lionel Messi.
Battles to watch
Memphis Depay v Gabriel Paulista – Depay has become an effective striker for Barcelona, and he will offer Valencia centre-back Gabriel Paulista an interesting test due to his movement and shooting ability.
Nico Gonzalez v Daniel Wass – A classic midfield battle, with Nico Gonzalez bringing energy, impressive technique and youthful energy to clash with Wass’s strength, experience and physicality.
Gerard Pique v Goncalo Guedes – Barca’s veteran centre-back has been as heartsore over the club’s struggles as anyone, but he’ll need to focus on the task of keeping auxiliary forward Goncalo Guedes under wraps.
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Match broadcast details
All times CAT
Sunday 17 October
21:00: Barcelona v Valencia – LIVE on SuperSport La Liga, SuperSport Maximo 2 and SuperSport GOtv La Liga