Valencia vs. Barcelona: What It Will Take to Upset La Liga Leaders

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistFebruary 3, 2013

VALENCIA, SPAIN - MARCH 08:  Roberto Soldado of Valencia scores a goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA Europa League Round of 16 first leg match between Valencia CF and PSV Eindhoven at Estadio Mestalla on March 8, 2012 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Barcelona has not done a lot of losing over the past year. However, this squad is not unbeatable.

Despite an overall record of 19-1-1 in La Liga with a goal differential of plus-47, Valencia should have a fighting chance in the upcoming match. However, it will certainly need to perform better than it did in the 5-0 defeat to Real Madrid a few weeks ago.

Valencia has had an up-and-down season, but it will need to follow these keys in order to stick with Barcelona on Sunday.


Make Victor Valdes Work

While Barcelona has one of the best goalkeepers in the world in Victor Valdes, he is not infallible. If he is under pressure, he is certainly capable of making mistakes.

In the squad's only loss of the league season, Real Sociedad scored three goals on 14 shots, six of them on net. Even without a lot having possession for much of the match, the club took chances at the net and were rewarded for the effort.

Instead of waiting for a perfect look at the goal, Valencia needs to be aggressive and take plenty of shots whenever anyone gets a chance.

With a tough defense that will be challenging for the ball throughout the game, this squad cannot afford to lose opportunities. Take shots and good things will happen.


Watch No. 10

There are so many talented offensive players on Barcelona, but none of them are quite as good as Lionel Messi.

While the Argentine's scoring has been up this year, he is getting fewer assists per match with his club team than he did last year. This means that he is getting fewer players involved in the offense.

Valencia needs to know where Messi is on the pitch at all times and do whatever it takes to not let him get the ball.

When you face Barcelona, you know what is coming. Of course, stopping it is a different story. Keying on Messi is not exactly a new idea, but it needs to be done in this match. 


Utilize Home-Field Advantage

Despite the fact that Valencia has struggled on the road this year, things have been much better at Estadio Mestalla.

Of the club's 33 league points, 22 of them were earned at home. The squad simply seems to play with more energy in front of the home crowd.

Barcelona is coming off a disappointing draw against Real Madrid. This group might come out slow as the focus might still be on the Copa del Rey match. 

Valencia needs to come out with a lot of energy in this match in order to be able to pull off the upset.