Barcelona eye crucial win over Valladolid

(190314) — BARCELONA, March 14, 2019 (Xinhua) — Barcelona’s Gerard Pique celebrates after scoring during the UEFA Champions League match between Spanish team FC Barcelona and French team Lyon in Barcelona, Spain, on March 13, 2019. Barcelona won 5-1 and advanced to the quarterfinals. (Xinhua/Joan Gosa)

Madrid, April 3 (IANS) FC Barcelona will look to continue their improved form and remain in the race for the La Liga title when they host Real Valladolid on Sunday night.

The Catalans will be confident of earning three points after their 6-1 away win against Real Sociedad two weeks ago, which was arguably their best performance of the season. Valladolid’s record in Cap Nou should also give Ronald Koeman’s men hope, reports Xinhua.

Real Valladolid have only won twice and drawn six matches in their 44 visits to Camp Nou, with thir last win coming in 1997.

However, the side coached by Sergio Gonzalez has been tough to beat in recent weeks and has climbed out of the relegation zone with four draws and a win in their last six games.

Right-back Sergi Roberto should be back for Barca after recovering from a muscle problem, which originally affected him in November, but Gerard Pique is still a few days away from full fitness after his latest setback.

Pique has been working hard over the past fortnight and is aiming to be fit for the ‘Clasico’ next weekend, and the final of the 2020 Copa del Rey on April 17.

Koeman would likely continue with his tactic of three central defenders and two wing-backs, which has worked well in recent games and allows Frenkie de Jong the opportunity to step forward into the midfield when needed.

Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele have both been in good form for France and will partner Leo Messi in attack, while 18-year-old Pedri continues his progress with some impressive displays as he played his first games for Spain.

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