Barcelona can bounce back in La Liga title race with Valencia victory

With just five La Liga games remaining, Barcelona must leave Valencia with three points to have any hopes of securing a 27th league title.

This season's La Liga title race took yet another unpredictable turn on Thursday night, as Barcelona fell to a 2-1 defeat against Granada.

With title rivals Atletico and Real Madrid both dropping points in recent games, Blaugrana were handed a golden opportunity to emerge as frontrunners for the trophy with a victory.

However, a disappointing night saw them chaotically collapse against Los Nazaries and squander their chance.

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In what has been a fascinating fortnight for the club - including cup victories, financial complications and a controversial European Super League - the prospect of a 27th La Liga trophy has never been as pivotal to the Catalonian club.

The aforementioned defeat at the Nou Camp sees the club remain in third place - level on points with their Clasico rivals and two points adrift of Diego Simeone's side in first.

Next up for Blaugrana is a clash with Valencia who have endured a number of problems at the Mestalla this season, both on and off the field.

Aside from plaguing financial problems behind the scenes, Los Murcielagos currently reside in an underwhelming league position of 14th.

With just five games left of one of Spain's most chaotic campaigns in recent memory, Barcelona must leave Valencia with three points if they are to lift the league trophy.

Tips of the fixture

Ronald Koeman's side have emerged victorious in 22 of their 33 La Liga games so far this season.

Barcelona to be winning at half-time and winning at full-time is priced at 1/1 (Evens) on Paddy Power.

Blaugrana have scored two or less goals in six of their last ten league games.

The Catalonian outfit to win 1-0, 2-0, 2-1 is 9/4 on Sky Bet.

Stat attack

With an unmatched return of 29 goals in 35 goals, Lionel Messi is undoubtedly the top scorer of the fixture. Barcelona's magisterial Argentine leads other notable Blaugrana forwards in Cesar Rodriguez (15) and Luis Suarez (12) by a significant distance.

With a win percentage of 46%, Blaugrana have emerged victorious in 92 of the 198 games played between the two sides. Valencia have won 55 games (27%) and the two teams have drawn 51 games.

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The Catalonian outfit also boast superior statistics in terms of goalscoring, having scored 56% of the 665 goals across the fixture. Valencia themselves have scored 291.

Barcelona have not had great luck in recent seasons against the southeastern Spaniards, winning only one of their last seven games in all competitions.

Memorable matches

FC Barcelona 5-2 Valencia (La Liga - September 14, 2019)

Just a month after becoming the club's youngest ever La Liga goalscorer, Ansu Fati found the net on his first senior start against Valencia at the Nou Camp.

The Spanish wonderkid broke the deadlock after latching on to an exquisite Frenkie de Jong pass and slotting past Jasper Cillessen. He returned the favour just five minutes later to ease Barcelona into a two goal lead.

Kevin Gameiro halved the deficit for Los Murcielagos on the half-hour mark, finishing a well worked move to slot into the bottom corner.

Ansu Fati scored on his first senior start against Valencia
Ansu Fati scored on his first senior start against Valencia

Despite the away side pulling a goal back, it was business as usual for Blaugrana in the second half. The team scored two in the opening 15 minutes - Gerard Pique's close-range tap-in followed by a spectacular effort from Suarez.

Another goal from Suarez made it five with ten minutes to go and Gomez's consolation goal for Valencia in stoppage time would be nothing more than that as Barcelona rejoiced in an impressive home victory.

FC Barcelona 4-2 Valencia (La Liga - March 19, 2017)

Messi struck a brilliant brace in a six goal thriller to inspire a crucial 4-2 victory for Barcelona. The result moved them within just two points of Clasico rivals and league leaders, Real Madrid.

Much to the surprise of the hosts, it was Valencia who took the lead when Eliaqium Mangala headed home from a corner. Suarez, however, was on hand to level proceedings, angling home his equaliser past Alves.

Messi takes on Valencia in 2017
Messi takes on Valencia in 2017

Having given Valencia the lead, Mangala tainted an impressive first-half performance when he was sent off for a rash challenge on  Suarez on the stroke of half-time. Messi converted the corresponding penalty to further worsen Los Murcielagos' fortunes.

The game witnessed yet another dramatic twist when the visitors immediately equalised through former Barcelona man, Munir el Haddadi.

Despite the resilience of the valiant Valencia, the extra man in Blaugrana's favour proved to be the difference in the end. A wondrous strike from Messi was followed by a late goal from Andre Gomes to ensure an important victory for Luis Enrique's team.

Valencia 2-3 FC Barcelona (La Liga - October 22, 2016)

A late Messi penalty helped Barca snatch all three points after coming from behind to secure a late victory at the Mestalla.

The Argentine forward put the visitors ahead after 22 minutes under controversial circumstances.

Messi battles with Valencia, 2017
Messi battles with Valencia, 2017

Barcelona's lead was spectacularly squandered when Los Murcielagos turned the game around through quickfire strikes from Munir and Rodrigo. However, Suarez levelled for the visitors to set up an enthralling final half hour of football.

The scores were level in stoppage time when Suarez was brought down in the Valencia box with just seconds left.

Up stepped Messi, who did what he does best and scored another late winner for Blaugrana from the penalty spot.

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