How Barcelona Will Line Up Against Real Valladolid

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How Barcelona Will Line Up Against Real Valladolid
Richard Heathcote/Getty Images
Barcelona will look to continue their great run of form on Saturday.

Barcelona return to the comfort of home turf as they take on Real Valladolid at the Camp Nou this Saturday.

The Blaugrana tails should be wagging on the back of a fine Champions League performance at Celtic that saw Barca keep a seventh clean sheet of the season.

They arrive at this game bang in form, atop the division and on the back of a record-breaking seven straight La Liga wins, whilst their visitors languish in 15th place with just a solitary win and six goals to show for their efforts.

Valladolid's only success came at home to Getafe back at the end of August, and their lack of success can be directly attributed to their poor work rate. Look at the heat map for supposedly industrious winger Patrick Ebert for their last game against Malaga, by way of example.

You could hardly accuse Patrick Ebert of working hard against Malaga. Photo credit: Squawka

With Marc Bartra in the kind of form he displayed in Glasgow, he will be pick off the likes of Ebert and Javi Guerra with consummate ease. The youngster has certainly made a case for a longer term inclusion at the heart of the Barca defence with some accomplished performances in Javier Mascherano's absence.

The question for Tata Martino is whether he partners the youngster longer term with the underperforming Gerard Pique or with Mascherano upon his return—or indeed with Carles Puyol. For this match, Bartra and Pique will underpin the defence with Dani Alves and Adriano completing the back four.

This game comes just too early for Jordi Alba as he looks to recover from his hamstring injury.

Expect Juan Ignacio Martinez's side to set up in their usual 4-2-3-1 formation with Osorio and Ramos providing further attacking support.

Sergio Busquets completed almost all of his passes in his last La Liga game. Photo credit: Squawka

Martino will be looking for Sergio Busquets to continue with his stellar form this season, epitomised by his 96 percent passing accuracy in the last La Liga match vs. Almeria. The engine room of the Barca midfield, Busquets has been one of the main reasons behind Barca's frugality in defence.

With an international break following this match, we should see as full strength a side as possible, so Xavi Hernandez and Andres Iniesta should continue to provide ample creative spark. Whether Barca will come close to matching their astonishing 945 passes against Celtic is up for conjecture.

Martinez also likes his teams to also play football, and it is, perhaps, their lack of a cutting edge which has stifled them in a number of games this term.

Cesc Fabregas should be given the chance to continue to deputise for Lionel Messi

Antonio Rukavina will have to be on top of his game to have any chance of stopping Neymar who is getting better game by game. In the absence of Lionel Messi, the youngster will step up again to provide the focal point of the attack. 

There should be no reason whatsoever why Cesc Fabregas will not continue in the false-nine role, which leaves the wide-right slot. Cristian Tello's electric pace should get him the nod to pit his wits against aging ex-Barca B player Carlos Pena.

 

 

 

 

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