Ronald Koeman could ring in a couple of changes, with Clement Lenglet and Frenkie de Jong set to return when Barcelona play Real Valladolid on Tuesday.
Barcelona face Real Valladolid on Tuesday night in a vital La Liga encounter as they look to maintain pressure on arch-rivals Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid.
Real Valladolid vs Barcelona
Spain – La Liga
Date: Tuesday, 22 December 2020
Kick-off at 21:00 UK/ 22:00 CET
Venue: Estadio José Zorrilla.
The Catalans continue on their run of inconsistency, that has led to rise of tension in the dressing room as well as between the players and the coach.
They have recorded one of their worst ever starts to a league campaign, and slowly the hope of Lionel Messi extending a contract, is diminishing.
Ronald Koeman need a huge win at any cost to get things back on track, and it’s of utmost importance that he has a steady run going on by the time a new president is elected for the club in January.
It’s no secret that almost all strong candidates are openly flirting with Xavi Hernandez, and for the Dutch gaffer to keep his job, the next four weeks are crucial.
Considering that Barca are pitted against the 18th placed Pucela this Tuesday, we can count on the desperate titan to give their 100% on the pitch. They need a high-scoring win, and by all means, Sergio Gonzalez’s men look like the perfect prey.
Expect Barcelona to make the most of this easy fixture, and post a convincing win.
Valladolid vs Barcelona: Head-to-head (h2h)
- The Catalans are on a four-game winning run.
- They had also won 12 of the previous 13 overall games, and had registered 32 of the former 36 wins.
- They have conceded a single goal from the past four encounters, but have scored three or more goals in five of the preceding ten match-ups.
- Since 2007, the hosts have scored a total of just two goals at this venue.
Valladolid vs Barcelona: Prediction
Pucela were held to a 1-1 draw on the road the last match-day, by Sevilla. In the meantime, Koeman’s men were held to a 2-2 draw the past game week, at home.
Going on, Gonzalez’s men were winless in 14 of their previous 18 overall fixtures, and one of these victories had come against the 20th placed Osasuna, and one other victory had come against a team from the lower division.
Do note that they also have an embarrassing h2h record against this rival over the years, and as of now, they are placed 18th in the table.
On the other hand, the Catalans are still one of the best teams in the world. They were unbeaten in 15 of their past 20 overall fixtures, and three of the five losses during this stretch had come against Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, and Juventus.
Taking these stats into account, expect the wounded Barcelona to post a convincing win this Tuesday.
Valladolid vs Barcelona: Betting Tips
To Win: Barcelona @ 1.44 (4/9)
Over 1.5 Team Goals by Barcelona @ 1.44 (4/9).
The Blaugrana are coming on the back of a disappointing draw with Valencia on the weekend, so one could expect Ronald Koeman to ring in a few changes. The biggest boost for the visitors heading into this game is the return of Ousmane Dembele, who is back in training.
Unfortunately, Tuesday’s game against Valladolid might come a bit too soon for the Frenchman. as confirmed during the pre-match press conference. “It is still early for Ousmane Dembélé because he only did part of the training session with the team. He is missing a few training sessions, and will surely be available for the match against Eibar,” said the Barcelona manager.
Dembele’s lack of fitness should pave the way for both Pedri and Antoine Griezmann to retain their places in the starting lineup. These two players are expected to form the creative trifecta for Barcelona, alongside Lionel Messi, who is poised to break Pele’s record of 643 goals for a single club this midweek. The attack, however, should be led by Martin Brathwaite.
There could be just one slight alteration in the midfield unit, where Frenkie de Jong is pushing for a start. The Dutchman wasn’t fully fit to start against Valencia. But, he wound up making a substitute appearance and should replace Philippe Coutinho in the starting lineup against Valladolid, thereby renewing his partnership with Sergio Busquets in the double-pivot.
Koeman has heaped praise on Ronald Araujo following his impressive performances for the senior side this season. “I know the number 4 weighs a lot here, but it’s not weighing on him because he’s being brave, physically strong and he’s playing well. He has to improve a lot of things and hopefully he will continue with the number 4,” the Dutchman said when asked about the young centre-back, who remains a surefire starter in central defence.
Last time out, it was Oscar Mingueza who partnered Araujo at the heart of the Barcelona defence. However, Koeman could be tempted to make a rotation this time around by recalling Clement Lenglet while Gerard Pique remains on the sidelines.
The Barcelona manager also does not have too many options elsewhere in defence so both Sergino Dest and Jordi Alba are also likely to retain their places in the full-back positions, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen starting in goal.
barcelona Predicted XI: ter Stegen; Dest, Araujo, Lenglet, Alba; Busquets, de Jong; Pedri, Messi, Griezmann; Brathwaite