Second place Barcelona face a tough fixture tonight when they host third place Valencia at the Nou Camp. The leagues top scorer Lionel Messi who has scored 19 goals so far will be up against David Villa who is not to far off behind with 16 goals to his name. It will not only be a battle for the all important 3 points, but also for league supremacy as a Barcelona win coupled with a defeat or draw for Madrid at Valladolid will propel the Catalans back to the summit of La Liga.
Pep Guardiola is expected to partner Frenchman Thierry Henry with Messi as first choice centre-forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic is suspended for the match. Henry has only scored 3 goals for Barcelona this season and it is these under par performances that have relegated the once feared striker to the Barca bench.
The gap between these two sides maybe incredibly huge but that does not make it any less of a match. Barca are level on 62 points with Real Madrid while third placed Valencia are a massive 15 points behind on 47 points.
Villa only featured as a late substitute when his side played Barcelona earlier on in the season. Suffering from a back injury then, his side fought for a 0-0 draw. Now the Spanish international is fit and reaaring to go. There is no doubt that Villa is one of the world’s best strikers. Guardiola even admitted that they gave his side a tormenting time the last time they met.
Barcelona, Madrid and Valencia are the three clubs that have dominated the League this past decade with both Barcelona and Valencia winning the title twice. Madrid have won the title an impressive 5 times and they will be looking to add a sixth to their glorious trophy cabinet.
Barca will be without Eric Abidal and Seydo Keita but Guardiola should have enough manpower to replace the two. My prediction is a draw. How many goals i cannot say. This will definitely be a match to watch.
Photo credit: drakasso