Competition: La Liga 2019/20
Matchday: Matchday 36
Date and Time: Sunday, 11 July 2020, 7:30 pm CET
Venue: Estadio Jose Zorilla, Valladolid, Spain
Referee: Antonio Mateu Lahoz (oh)
We’re back in action over the weekend in an important game against Real Valladolid. 2nd placed Barcelona go against the 14th placed Real Valladolid in La Liga, hoping to close the gap to Los Blancos. Last game, Barcelona eliminated Espanyol from the first division after narrowing out a 1-0 victory with a goal from Luis Suarez, which involved a smooth passing play which ended in a goal for the Uruguayan in the box. Meanwhile, Valladolid comes off a 2-1 loss against Valencia after a late goal from the Valencia youngster Lee Kang-in.
Last game wasn’t great from Barcelona other than the flashes of brilliance from the Blaugrana. We looked fatigued towards the final minutes, barring a sensational strike from Messi which could have doubled the lead. The midfield was not that strong as we lost a lot of balls in the middle of the pitch and wasted good goal-scoring opportunities that would generally go in. While this was not a bad game, the game against Valladolid might be more difficult.
The home side doesn’t have too much to play for as they are mostly safe from relegation. However, they are playing at home, meaning that Barça is the away team. This has been our Achilles Heel this season, with a poor away record this season, and the past few seasons.
Barcelona should win their upcoming games if they want to have a shot at winning the title. If Barcelona loses and Real Madrid win, the La Liga will be going the other way to Madrid. Every game is important now so we should have the motivation to win it all and pile pressure on Madrid.
Let’s do this!
Barcelona: 2nd place; 76 points
Valladolid: 14th place; 39 points
This is the squad as chosen by Setien to travel to Valladolid:
After Ansu Fati picked up a straight red card against Espanyol, he misses this game due to a one-game suspension. Ousmane Dembele is out due to a hamstring injury for the rest of the La Liga season. Frenkie De Jong has started full training with the team but has been chosen by the manager to be rested against Valladolid so that he can play the next game against Osasuna. Samuel Umtiti has relapsed back into an injury with his recurring left knee injury, while Arthur Melo has got a case of tonsilitis.
The youth players that have been chosen are Riqui Puig, Ronald Araujo and Arnau Tenas.
The Expected Lineup
Ter Stegen has to go between the sticks in this game to have a chance of winning the league. Semedo should start at right-back, while Firpo might be given a nod over Alba has to give Alba a break. Firpo has been good in his cameos so far after the restart and should be good to go. In central defence, Pique might be given a breather, meaning that Clement Lenglet and the 21-year old Ronald Araujo could start to complete the defence.
Frenkie De Jong and Arthur are out for this game, meaning that Setien has limited options for midfield. Busquets should start as the lone defensive midfielder. Riqui Puig was rested against Espanyol and might start this game. Sergi Roberto or Ivan Rakitic should complete the midfield, but after Rakitic was substituted for Vidal, he should be fresher and should start as well.
In attack, Messi, Suarez and Antoine Griezmann have found their footing and should start as the front three. The 4-3-1-2 has proven successful for Setien to integrate Griezmann and play Messi as a trequarista, so he should continue with that formation. Martin Braithwaite might come on as an impact substitute in the last few minutes of the game.
The lineup should look like below:
Barcelona 3 – Valladolid 1
Barcelona has everything to lose if they do not win this game and should go on to win this game comfortably and hopefully win the league next week.