Barcelona will be bidding to make it back-to-back victories in La Liga when they resume their campaign at home to Real Valladolid on Sunday night.
The Catalan outfit recorded a 4-1 victory over Real Sociedad in the league last weekend, while Real Valladolid picked up an impressive point at Sevilla in their last fixture on August 19.
Barcelona were frustrated on the opening weekend of the La Liga season by Rayo Vallecano, with Xavi‘s side being held to a goalless draw, but they managed to pick up their first three points at Real Sociedad last time out, recording a 4-1 victory over the White and Blues.
Robert Lewandowski netted twice in the clash at Reale Arena, while Ousmane Dembele and Ansu Fati were also on the scoresheet, with the Catalan outfit sending out a message to the rest of the division.
Barcelona, who drew 3-3 with Manchester City in a friendly on Wednesday evening, will now be bidding to make it seven points from their opening three La Liga games ahead of a trip to Sevilla at the start of September.
Xavi’s side finished 13 points behind La Liga champions Real Madrid last season, but they have had a standout summer transfer market, and more additions cannot be ruled out before the end of the window.
The Catalan side have won each of their last six La Liga meetings with Real Valladolid, including a 1-0 success when the two teams last locked horns at Camp Nou in April 2021, while they have not conceded a single goal to Sunday’s opponents since October 2019.
Real Valladolid were relegated to the Segunda Division for the 2021-22 campaign due to their 19th-placed finish in La Liga in 2020-21, but they managed to return at the first time of asking by finishing second in the second tier.
The White and Violets will be aware of the size of the task facing them this season when it comes to staying in the top flight, and they struggled on the opening weekend of the new campaign, going down 3-0 at home to Villarreal.
Pacheta‘s side were much improved against Sevilla last time out, though, and managed to claim a point at Estadio Ramon; they actually took the lead in the 80th minute of the contest through Anuar Tuhami, only for Karim Rekik to level the scores six minutes later.
Real Valladolid have three huge games after this against Almeria, Girona and Cadiz, which are the type of fixtures that will determine whether they are going to remain in the top flight this term.
The promoted outfit, who have legendary striker Ronaldo as a majority shareholder, can also take heart from the fact that Barcelona lost five times in front of their own fans in the league last term.
Barcelona have managed to register Jules Kounde for this weekend’s contest, so the Frenchman could make his official debut for the club on Sunday night.
Xavi could resist the temptation to throw the defender straight into the side, but there will be changes from the side that started against Real Sociedad, with Raphinha and Jordi Alba potentially coming into the side.
Sergio Busquets is also in line to return, with the Spaniard missing out against Celta through suspension, so Frenkie de Jong could potentially drop down to the bench.
Fati made his case for a start with a goal off the bench against Real Sociedad, but the youngster’s fitness is being carefully monitored due to his injury problems, so he is again likely to start on the bench.
As for Real Valladolid, Shon Weissman remains on the sidelines with a muscular problem, while Gonzalo Plata will also be unavailable for the visitors through injury.
Jawad El Yamiq is another definite absentee, with the defender shown a straight red card in the latter stages of the clash with Sevilla last time out.
Joaquin Fernandez is likely to come into the side in the middle of the defence, while there could be a change at centre-forward, with Pedro Leon potentially replacing Sergi Guardiola.
Barcelona possible starting lineup:
Ter Stegen; Araujo, Christensen, Garcia, Alba; Gavi, Busquets, Pedri; Dembele, Lewandowski, Raphinha
Real Valladolid possible starting lineup:
Asenjo; L Perez, Sanchez, Fernandez, Escudero; Aguado, Mesa, K Perez; Tuhami, Leon, Sanchez