Barcelona must avoid falling any further behind in the La Liga title race as they visit Valencia in the Spanish top flight.
The Catalan club sat fourth in the table ahead of the latest matchweek, seven points back of the top after being beaten 4-2 by surprise leaders Girona. Xavi rested most of the regulars for the midweek Champions League matchup against Royal Antwerp, but Barcelona were beaten again 3-2, doing further damage to the confidence despite the game having no competitive bearing on the club’s future.
Barca’s biggest issue at the moment is the poor form of striker Robert Lewandowski, who has just three goals in his past eight league matches, plus a four-game goalless streak in Europe on top of that. He scored last time out against Girona but should have done more with his six shots in the eventual defeat.
Valencia are in the middle of a rough patch themselves, as their four-game winless run in league play has seen them drop to 11th in the table as a shot at European football next season rapidly slips through their fingers. They have scored just two goals in those four games, struggling to create enough chances on net to sustain a run at the top seven.
Valencia vs Barcelona prediction, odds
- Moneyline lean: Barcelona (-165)
- Score prediction: Valencia 0-1 Barcelona
Neither of these teams are in great form, but Xavi knows how to keep a lid on La Liga sides in poor attacking condition.
Barca have struggled to create chances at their usual rate the last month or so themselves, but it will be tough to imagine them falling victim to Valencia’s defensive style. The Catalan club has been far more vulnerable to those who can threaten them at the back, and they remain solid at winning defensive duels.
to score Y / N
|Over / Under
|-125 / +100
|-125 / -105
Valencia vs Barcelona match facts
- Date: Saturday, December 16, 2023
- Kickoff Time: 9 p.m. local (3 p.m. ET / 12 p.m. PT)
- Location: Estadio de Mestalla (Valencia, Spain)
- Official: Miguel Angel Ortiz Arias
- Last meeting: Barcelona 1-0 Valencia (Mar. 5, 2023 | La Liga)
Valencia vs Barcelona: best bet
Barcelona’s back line has taken a significant step back from last season’s defensive dominance, but Valencia pose very little threat compared to other La Liga sides, sitting near the bottom of the Spanish top flight in total expected goals this season.
Valencia’s shot creation issues are growing worse by the match, as their most creative player Fran Perez doesn’t have a single key pass in his past five games and yet still leads the team in expected assists, with nobody else able to step up and fill the gap.
Between Robert Lewandowski’s recent misfires and Valencia’s creative struggles, goals will be at a premium here.
Valencia vs Barcelona prop bet
- Pick: First half — Under 0.5 goals
- Odds: +200 (FanDuel)
Leaning further into the lack of goals, the first half is likely to finish with precious few chances on net. Barcelona in particular have been slow to start matches this season, with 103 shots before halftime, fifth in La Liga. They are far more adventurous after the break, leading La Liga with 156 shots in the second half, 20 more than anyone else.
Couple that with the fact that Valencia have conceded the fewest first-half shots in La Liga this season, playing a defensive style that relies on them limiting opposition chances throughout the match, and a low-scoring first half feels inevitable.
Valencia are slightly more open before halftime, and they close things down after the break, but Barcelona are far more likely to blow this selection than the hosts, so their spread carries far more weight.
Valencia vs Barcelona live stream, TV channel
- TV Channel (English): —
- Streaming (English): ESPN+
- TV Channel (Spanish): ESPN Deportes
- Streaming (Spanish): Fubo, ESPN+, WatchESPN
Every La Liga match is available to watch in English exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States.
This match between Valencia and Barcelona has been selected for broadcast in Spanish on ESPN Deportes, which is available to stream on Fubo.