FC Barcelona: Valencia Players That Barcelona Must Shut Down
Barcelona is set to travel to take on La Liga foes Valencia this weekend in what should prove to be a thrilling match. The two Spanish clubs have a rich history and will most likely be in for yet another wonderful installment.
The Catalans enter the match as heavy favorites, of course, but Valencia will not make things easy on them.
Valencia has the firepower to test a club like Barcelona. Manager Miroslav Djukic will be sure to have the perfect strategy to take points off the defending champions. With that being said, let us now take a look at which players Barcelona must shut down to promise all three points.
Jonas will be very quiet against Barcelona, but will also be the player doing all the little things for Valencia.
Any team hoping to beat Barcelona must hit well on the counter. Jonas is the perfect person to lead the charge. His ability to feed through balls and cut inside will make things tough for the Catalan defense and his scoring ability isn’t bad either.
With Jonas likely featuring right behind striker Helder Postiga, he won’t have as much attention focused on him. It is this reason why Jonas will be able to do damage.
It will be up to Sergio Busquets to nullify the threat of Jonas—and, if there is one thing football fans know, it's that Busquets knows how to shut a player down.
Juan Bernat is a more toned down version of Barcelona’s Jordi Alba. He will look to have the same effect for Valencia at the Mestalla.
The 20-year-old is capable of featuring as a left-back or winger but will most likely stick to defense against Barcelona. His speed and ability to hit quickly after winning possession will cause problems for Dani Alves and could take the Brazilian out of the match altogether.
If Barcelona wants to make sure that the counter is not a problem, they will have to avoid losing possession on Bernat’s side of the pitch.
It is Bernat’s ability to play very strong defense while also being a formidable attacking option that will make him a threat against Barcelona. Alexis Sanchez and Dani Alves will have to work hard and be sure to not be caught too far forward on the left side of the pitch.
The 25-year-old is a lethal weapon against a team like Barcelona. He is able to pass the ball well, create chances and shoot from distance. Most importantly, he knows how to lead a charge.
If Valencia is to take points off the Catalan giants, it will all have to start with Banega.
His leadership will be invaluable against Barcelona and all eyes will be on the Argentine to win the ball back and make sure that Valencia creates scoring opportunities. For Barcelona, nothing will be more important than marking Banega out of the game.
Valencia will not be able to topple Barcelona without scoring goals. That is exactly what Portuguese striker Helder Postiga will look to provide.
When it comes right down to it, Postiga is a pure finisher. He is able to score goals with his head, both feet and can strike the ball from basically anywhere on the pitch. The 31-year-old is a veteran of the beautiful game and it shows.
Everyone on the pitch wearing the Valencia shirt will be looking to create chances. Postiga will be the one trying to finish them off.
Due to his versatility and finishing ability, Postiga is the most important factor against Barcelona. Gerard Pique and the rest of the defense will need to know where Postiga is at all times or Valencia could pull off a shocking draw or victory at the Mestalla.
Who does Barcelona need to watch out for the most? Can Valencia take points off the Catalans? Leave your thoughts and comments below!
Tre’ Atkinson. Follow me on Twitter for more discussions on all things Spanish football.