Barcelona can continue their run as Europe’s most in-form side with a victory over Valladolid

Despite going 18 games unbeaten, Ronald Koeman's side are wanting to continue their relentless run and overhaul Atletico Madrid in the race for the title in La Liga.

As Barcelona's star-studded array of players return from their respective international camps, it is pivotal to the Catalonian outfit that the remarkable run of form they embarked on prior to the World Cup qualifiers is maintained.

Since losing to Cadiz in early December, Blaugrana haven't lost in La Liga for 18 matches, winning 15 and drawing just three - making it the current best unbeaten run across all of Europe's top five leagues.

Due to this sensational record, Ronald Koeman's side have sliced the deficit between themselves and league leaders Atletico Madrid and now sit just four behind Atleti with 10 games to go.

In their last outing before the international break, Barca marked the start of Joan Laporta's presidential reign in style, as they sensationally thrashed a well-organised Real Sociedad side 6-1 at the Anoeta Stadium.

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Awaiting Barcelona next in their battle for the title is the visit of bottom-half strugglers Real Valladolid to Catalonia on Monday, and Sergio Gonzalez Soriano's side will be desperate for a season-defining upset.

Los Pucelanos currently sit in 16th place and just four points clear of Eibar in the bottom three - a far cry from their comfortable mid-table finish last season - and should they continue to drop points, danger will ever so slightly begin to creep closer.

In a game that could have significant implications at both ends of the La Liga table, this one has all the makings of a captivating clash in Catalonia.

Tip of the fixture

With 23 league goals to his name already this season, Lionel Messi once again finds himself leading the La Liga golden boot race, four clear of ex-Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez, and his electric run of form has shown no signs of slowing down.

Paddy Power are offering odds of 9/2 for the Argentine to score a hat-trick on Monday.

Stat attack

Blaugrana haven't lost to Valladolid since the 2013/14 season, where they were beaten 1-0 at the Jose Zorrilla, with a goal from Rossi proving to be the difference maker, they have emerged victorious in the previous five meetings.

Messi is the fixture's joint-top record goalscorer with eight to his name, drawing him level with legendary Blaugrana forward, Julio Salinas.

Of the 91 games played between the two, Ronald Koeman's side boast an impressive win percentage of 67% having won 61, Valladolid have emerged victorious just 14 times (15%) with the teams cancelling each other out on 16 occasions.

Having scored 210 of the 285 goals in the history of the tie, Barcelona also dominate on the goal front with an impressive 73% of the strikes in this match-up down the years.

The last time Valladolid won at Camp Nou was in a 2-1 victory in 1997, they have failed to pick up three points there in their last nine attempts, losing seven times and drawing just twice.

Blaugrana have kept four clean sheets in their last five games against the visitors, scoring 11 and conceding only once.

Memorable matches

Barcelona 5-1 Valladolid

La Liga

October 29, 2019

A five-star performance from Lionel Messi saw him record two goals and two assists as Barcelona thrashed Valladolid 5-1 at the Nou Camp to return to the top of the La Liga table.

In an action packed first 15 minutes, Clement Lenglet gave Barcelona the lead before Valladolid equalised through Olivas Alba, but Valladolid's night was soon over before it had even started.

After playing through Arturo Vidal who restored the hosts' lead, Messi inevitably extended it with a goal of his own, scoring the 50th free-kick of his career to close out the first half in style.

The following 45 minutes were very much business as usual for Blaugrana. Emulating his previous heroics, Messi was on hand to provide another goal and assist combination to provide his side with an unassailable lead.

After exquisitely controlling Ivan Rakitic's through ball and coolly converting to complete his brace, the Argentine slipped through Luis Suarez two minutes later who made no mistake in making it five.

Valladolid 0-3 Barcelona

La Liga

December 22, 2020

A comfortable victory for Barcelona at the Jose Zorrilla Stadium in this season's reverse fixture saw Koeman's side move up to fifth as they continued to undo their disappointing start to the season.

The visitors broke the deadlock after 21 minutes when Lenglet leaped to convert Messi's cross and power home the opener, before Martin Braithwaite doubled the advantage later in the first half after a well-worked team move.

Saving the best until last, Barcelona's third and final goal didn't only wrap up the victory but also further immortalised Messi's name in football history, as he surpassed Pele to hold the record for most goals ever scored for a single club.

The Argentine's strike was his 643rd for Barca, breaking the long-running record set by the illustrious Brazillian striker between 1956 and 1974 for Santos.

Valladolid 0-1 Barcelona

La Liga

July 11, 2020

A crucial victory in last season's title race, an Arturo Vidal winner for Blaugrana ensured they moved within just a point of Real Madrid at the top of the La Liga table.

The Chilean's low-driven shot was the only goal of the game and put the pressure on Los Blancos who were due to travel to Granada.

Despite the victory in Valladolid, Barcelona were unable to complete a famous comeback as their Clasico rivals went on to win their 34th league title.

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