Valencia cptain David Albelda looks set to leave the Mestalla when his contract ends in the summer. He always has done things his own way. "There is a 95% chance I will not continue at Valencia when the season ends,” he revealed recently. Ronald Koeman had infamously tried to remove the holding-midfielder in December 2007, along with then teammates Santiago Cañizares and Miguel Ángel Angulo. The sacking of the Dutchman five months later saw Albelda outstay his manager.
Former Los Che left-back Jordi Alba is looking forward to returning to the club he left last August: "Valencia gave me the opportunity to play in the Primera División and gave me the chance to be the player I am today." From one Barça full-back anticipating a good reception, to another that allegedly received disgusting treatment in midweek. "Great job by the team, shame about the result and more shame the racists there are in some places," said the Brazilian on Twitter after El Clasico.
Éver Banega was late to training on Friday, with some suggesting that he was drunk. Manager Ernesto Valverde denied the claim, though he might be omitted from the squad. Sergio Canales could be in line for his first league start of the season, whilst Roberto Soldado should return from injury.
For Barça, Victor Valdés will return in place of José Manuel Pinto between the posts and David Villa should appear against his old club.
A stoppage time winner from Ricardo Costa gave Valencia the three points last weekend to round off a miserable week for Deportivo La Coruna. Having been annihilated by Cristiano Ronaldo when moved to right-back a few weeks ago, it was a joyous moment for the Portuguese defender.
A draw at Real Madrid is a decent result, by anyone's standards, but Barcelona aren't just anyone. "In the second half we let them off. We missed three or four clear chances that usually we do not miss," Xavi told reporters afterwards, whilst partner in crime Andrés Iniesta added: "Perhaps we are leaving with a bad taste in our mouths because we had our chances."
Barcelona have won the last three meetings between the sides, all of which came at the Camp Nou. In Valencia, they haven't been anywhere near as dominant, with two score draws. There have been 23 goals in Valencia's last seven matches and all of Barcelona's last 16 league games have gone over 2.5 goals. The over is available here at 1.42.
Roberto Soldado was overlooked by Vicente Del Bosque for the Spanish squad this week, though this was partly due to a recent injury. The forward has 11 goals in 18 league starts and is nicely priced at 8.50 to open the scoring.
Xavi recently signed a new contract at the Catalan club and will want to add to his five La Liga strikes this term. He is available at 10.00 for the first goal and 3.50 to score anytime.
Since acquiring the Valencia hotseat, Valverde has been defeated just three times - two of which were against Real Madrid. With Barça's difficulties at the Mestalla in recent years, they just might struggle to find top gear. The draw is a decent 4.25.
Why not try a goal scored in under 15 minutes at 2.70, as two of Valencia's three games have produced goals in that period. Prior to the battle in Madrid, Barça were flying out the blocks and scored in the opening quarter of an hour in three games.
Score prediction: Valencia 2-2 Barcelona (14.00)