El Centrocampista

THE BEST FORM OF ATTACK IS ATTACK – Barcelona travel to table-topping Valencia


Only two teams still hold an 100% record in La Liga, Real Betis and Valencia.

Betis have made a storming return to La Liga, their most impressive achievement came on Sunday night with their brilliant 3-2 away win over Athletic Bilbao.

The other side, Valencia have also looked impressive, although that it is slightly less surprising than the Andulucian’s start.

A solid win over Atletico followed a sensational first day comeback against Racing and top of the table was secured with a good three points away to Sporting.

Their record will undoubtedly be tested this week as they host the Champions, Barcelona, at the Mestalla.

Both games last season were end to end encounters and finished in two close Barcelona wins by a single goal margin, 2-1 and 0-1.

Both games could have gone either way, with Valencia on top for periods at the Camp Nou and spurning plenty of chances at home.

Can Soldado continue his scoring form?

The Catalan giants go into the game off the back of a crushing 8-0 home win over Osasuna and, after a stumble against Sociedad they look to be back to their all conquering best.

Barcelona will also be going all out to capitalise on Real Madrid’s defeat to Levante.

With Villarreal inconsistant (although they picked up their first three points last night) and Athletic Bilbao enduring a torrid start to their campaign, Valencia have shown that they are again the favourites for third place.

A win over Barcelona would be huge and keep their great run going, a big defeat would greatly harm morale.

The game will be the first real big clash of the season between two rivals with title aspirations.

Barcelona have to be considered favourites but Valencia have continued to close the gap on the big two.

Mirroring the 2010/11 campaign they have started very strongly and sit top of the La Liga table, however they have not won against Barcelona in eight previous attempts.

Unai Emery is likely to field an unchanged line-up, Soldado has recovered from a foot injury, and has urged his team to “believe” and “be able to win”.

Valencia’s defence will be put under a stern examination and will have to be at the most solid to stop a rampant Barcelona forward line, new signing Adil Rami has impressed but the Barcelona attacking unit are almost unstoppable a times – just ask Osasuna…

Any chance for Valencia to win the game will rely on their attacking quartet of Soldado, Pablo, Jonas and Canales.

Roberto Soldado is a potent weapon, topping the goal scoring charts and looking very lively.

His all round game will make him difficult to contain for an under-strength Barcelona defence.

Gerard Pique has not travelled with the squad meaning Javier Mascherano will partner the returning Carles Puyol at the back.

David Villa will face Valencia for the third time since departing in 2010 and the otherwise prolific striker is yet to net against his former club, although he impressive early form this season could change that tonight.

Whatever the result, we are in for a great game and for both teams it is a chance to put down a marker of things to come.

For Barcelona it is their first big test of the season and for Valencia it is the opportunity to announce themselves as genuine contenders for the title.

Likely line ups-

Valencia; Guaita, Bruno, Ruiz, Rami, Alba, Banega, Albelda, Canales, Jonas, Hernandez, Soldado

Barcelona; Valdes, Alves, Puyol, Mascherano, Abidal, Busquets, Xavi, Fabregas, Pedro, Messi, Villa



[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oq29VQ4LPaw&w=420&h=315]


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