Barcelona on Thursday night entered uncharted territory after a long while, as they played in the Europa League for the first time since the 03/04 season.
In the first leg, they drew 1-1 at the Camp Nou against Napoli, with Ferran Torres missing important chances that left him in tears at the end of the game.
A 1-1 draw keeps the tie alive, and with no away goal rule, Barcelona will have to take their chances when they travel to Italy in two weeks’ time.
But, until then, Barcelona’s focus must return to the top four race in La Liga, as their next test is on the road against Valencia.
After back-to-back 4th place finishes in the 17/18 and 18/19 seasons, Valencia has struggled.
They currently sit in 12th place having taken 30 points from their 24 games so far.
Even when the odds are against them, Valencia is a fighting club and their next David vs Goliath battle is with Xavi’s Barcelona!
Premiering on a Sunday Afternoon at the Mestalla Stadium.
The two great Spanish clubs have faced each other 42 times, and the contest is heavily tilted in Barcelona’s favor.
The Cules have won on 21 occasions, while Valencia has fought their way to 7 victories and 14 draws.
Heading into this one, Barcelona in all competitions has garnered up only 2 wins in their last 6 matches. The other 4 results that went south comprise of 2 draws and 2 defeats.
However, their La Liga form is much better, in their last 6 league encounters they have won thrice and shared points on 3 occasions.
Valencia in their last 6 matches in all competitions has won only once while facing 2 defeats and 3 draws.
Barcelona has won 13 of their past 14 away LaLiga games against Valencia (W6 D7), with their lone setback coming at Mestalla in January 2020 under Quique Setién (0-2).
Valencia has scored in each of their last 13 LaLiga games against Barcelona (21 goals on aggregate), their longest scoring streak in the tournament against the Blaugranas.
Barcelona has scored 329 goals in 173 LaLiga meetings versus Valencia (1.9 on average), more than any other team in the top level has ever done.
Valencia has lost their past two LaLiga games against Barcelona, and the last time they lost three in a row against the Blaugranas in the championship was under Unai Emery in 2011.
Barcelona with Xavi at the helm has found a new hope and optimism in their hearts which has fueled the suffering club for a second launch. A top 4 finish for them will be a huge success when the season finishes.
Valencia on the other hand is struggling at 12th on the table and despite playing this Sunday on their home ground, the odds are against them.
In all probability, it looks like Barcelona 2.0 will get past a struggling Valencia.