Hassan Chamas

What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Valencia (5th) vs. Barcelona (1st)
When: Saturday October 17th, 2009, at 22:00 CET
Where: Mestalla, Valencia, Spain

No Villa: Big Problems

Valencia coach Unai Emery will be facing a big conundrum as his team prepares to welcome the reigning champions to the Mestalla, with Carlos Marchena, Joaquin, Vicente and most importantly, star scorer David Villa all ruled out of this weekend’s La Liga clash. On any other day, Los Che could have proved to be a tough test for Pep Guardiola’s team, but the absence of a handful of their most important players sets the stage for what could well turn out to be a sour night for the hosts.

One glimmer of hope could be a last minute recall for Villa, who has made genuine progress, and is still hoping to make the game. However, the Seleccion striker will have to be at his best if he wants to be the reason behind Barcelona’s first upset of the season.

Thank you Sevilla

Barcelona rejoiced as they saw their perennial enemies brought down to their knees by Sevilla, but that soon became yesterday’s news as the Blaugrana had several issues to tackle. Those including Lionel Messi’s new contract, the operation to take both Cesc Fabregas and Robinho to the Camp Nou, as well as the ongoing national tittle-tattle surrounding Carles Puyol and Xavi Hernandez’s withdrawals from the Spanish camp.

Xavi remains the only question mark for the clash against Valencia, as his knee injury was the reason behind a return to Catalunya. However, the Barca vice-captain trained with the rest of his team-mates on Wednesday, and there’s a good chance that he’ll be called-up for his team’s upcoming fixture.



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Valencia 2-2 Atletico Madrid (La Liga)
Valencia 3-2 Genoa (Europa League)
Racing 0-1 Valencia (La Liga)

Malaga 0-2 Barcelona (La Liga)
Barcelona 2-0 Dynamo Kiev (Champions League)
Barcelona 1-0 Almeria (La Liga)

Players to watch

Valencia – Juan Mata: The Real Madrid youth product is having a good season so far, and his club efforts have been duplicated with the national team, as he scored the winner against Armenia last weekend. Should Villa not be present against Los Cules, Mata will have to assume extra responsibilities and try to bring down one of the teams that are supposedly interested in him.

Barcelona – Lionel Messi: Many have questioned Messi’s international form, as he has never really managed to impose himself for Argentina as he has for Barcelona. Yet, Messi has rarely failed to shine in blue and red. He will most certainly make sure he grabs the headlines, and let his friends on a little bit of the action. 

Match prediction

The match should be a relatively easy hurdle for Barcelona to tackle: The 2003/04 champions are missing a handful of pivotal players, and even so, the Blaugrana have prevailed over every single obstacle this season. A 2-0 scoreline for the Treble holders seems to be a reasonable outcome.

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