Barcelona vs. Valencia Pick – Match Odds

Barcelona vs. Valencia La Liga Match Preview, Camp Nou, Barcelona Spain 2 PM Sunday February 19, 2012
By Jason Green, Soccer Handicapper,

Match Odds: Barcelona 1.28 / Valencia 9.50 / Draw 5.00
Moneyline: Barcelona -400 / Valencia +900 / Draw +475
Over/Under Total: 2.5 goals

Barcelona are big home favorites in this match and in their 3 matches they have faced Valencia this season they have not lost. These 2 teams met in Sept in Valencia with the match ending in a 2-2 draw and in the 2 Copa del Rey semifinals matches this month they played to a 1-1 draw in Valencia and in Barcelona the home team advanced winning 2-0.

Barcelona is coming off a big win in their last match beating Bayer Leverkusen away 3-1, but they have not been in top form in league play in the last few matches. They are in 2nd place in the league table 10 points behind Real Madrid with Valencia sitting 8 points behind Barca.

Valencia will be dealing with a Barcelona team that has scored the 2nd most goals in La Liga play and given up the fewest. However, in the 3 matches they have faced the defending champions they have scored 3 goals.

With Barcelona sitting 10 points behind Real Madrid they must win this match to have any chance to catch them in league play.

Barcelona controlled the ball 62% to 38% in the earlier La Liga match this season in Valencia and they will do so again in this match. It is key that Valencia stays sharp the entire match and not make mistakes, especially deep on their side of the pitch.

With Barca attacking the whole match Valencia must really look out for the counter attack chances they get, as they will likely not be able to create many scoring opportunities on offense.

Lionel Mess, who ranks 2nd in the league in goals this season, leads the solid Barcelona offense and Cesc Fbregas (9 goals) Alexis Snchez (8 goals) will join him, but Xavi (6 goals) is unlikely to play in this match due to an injury. MF Andres Iniesta is also out for Barca with a muscle team injury.

The Valencia defense must play well and they have to get in the passing lanes and will really have to do so near their box.

Valencia G Vicente Guaita Panadero gave his team a clean sheet in his last match and has been playing well, but keeping a clean sheet against Barcelona at Camp Nou is highly unlikely.

Roberto Soldado has the 5th most goals in La Liga this season and he is the big gun for Valencia up front. He will need help in this match from the duo of Sofiane Feghouli and Aritz Aduriz, who each have 4 goals this season in league play.

Valencia had a few scoring chances in their 2-0 loss in the Copa del Rey semifinals match earlier this month and since their scoring chances will be few and far between they have to capitalize on them in this match.

In their last 10 matches Valencia has an Over/Under 2.5 goal record of 6-4 and Barcelona has an Over/Under 2.5 goal record of 8-2.

Barcelona Recent Form

2/14/2012 Feb Bayer Leverkusen 1 Barcelona 3 (Champions League)
2/11/2012 Osasuna 3 Barcelona 2 (La Liga)
2/8/2012 Barcelona 2 Valencia 0 (Copa del Rey)
2/4/2012 Barcelona 2 Real Sociedad 1 (La Liga)
2/1/2012 Valencia 1 Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey)

Valencia Last 5 Matches

2/12/2012 Valencia 4 Sporting Gijon 0 (La Liga)
2/8/2012 Barcelona 2 Valencia 0 (Copa del Rey)
2/5/2012 Atltico Madrid 0 Valencia 0 (La Liga)
2/1/2012 Valencia 1 Barcelona 1 (Copa del Rey)
1/29/2012 Racing Santander 2 Valencia 2 (La Liga)

Jason’s Pick to Win the Game: Valencia has played Barcelona well this season, but they have still yet to beat them. That trend will continue in this match. The Barca offense and ball control is simply too good for Valencia to overcome and the home team will win this game and I think they will keep a clean sheet and win by the exact score of their last encounter at Camp Nou of 2-0.