This is by far the more attractive of the two Copa del Rey Semi-Finals but Valencia will need to put in a big performance at Camp Nou on Thursday.
They failed to do that when these sides met at this stage two seasons ago, as Luis Suarez and Leo Messi shared seven goals as the Catalans ran riot against Gary Neville’s hapless side. They’ve improved considerably since then though and should give a much better account of themselves here.
The duo are both in fine form right now and with Valencia suffering from one or two defensive injury problems, there’s a danger they could put this tie to bed on the night. Ernesto Valverde has rotated in the 1st Legs of this competition so far this term but that’s unlikely to be the case here given the advanced stage we are now at and the fact that next week’s game in Valencia will be tougher.
Los Che though aren’t on top of their game right now and were hammered 4-1 at home by Real Madrid at the weekend. They’ve now actually lost 5 of their last 8 league games so this is a genuine wobble and that’s not a record that suggests they will get anything from this game.
With their first eleven all available, Valencia are very strong but unfortunately the back-up players let them down slightly and they are still likely to be missing some key men here, so it would be a major surprise if they avoided defeat.
However there’s reason to fancy them to score. Since that 7-0 loss, all of their five games against Barcelona have seen goals at both ends. They’ve averaged 2 goals per game this season in the league, which is a fine return and they’ve scored at least once in all of their last eight matches, despite that downturn in results.
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