Barcelona vs. Valencia-Preview

The two heavyweights of Spanish football take on each other in what is anticipated to be a very exciting encounter at the Nou Camp. Valencia and Barcelona have a long and historical rivalry in the Spanish football league and thus one can expect the up-coming match between the two clubs to be full of tension as Valencia currently occupy the top spot in the Spanish Primera Division rankings.

However, that is not all. Barcelona’s slow start to the season has meant that they are currently in the 4th place in the league table and a win over Valencia will propel them to the top of the table; given that results elsewhere go favourably as far as the Catalonians are concerned.

Valencia on the other hand will be looking to take things as they come. Their start to the season has been immaculate. The only dark patch on their “clean” start came in the UEFA Champions League when they lost to Manchester United at the Mestalla Stadium in a group stage matchup.

Other than that, Joaquin and co. have been on fire. No one actually expected Valencia to be the in-form team this season, despite losing the likes of David Villa and Silva in the summer transfer window to Barcelona and Manchester City respectively. The club has diverted all its recent income towards settling their debt concerns.

Valencia’s financial situation might not be as sound as other club’s in the Spanish league but their performances have certainly done the Los Che’s proud. Valencia’s match against Barcelona will be their 7th of the season in the Spanish Primera Division of league football. Valencia began their league season with an emphatic 3-1 win over Malaga, away from home.

From thereon in, it has been a steady rise to the top for the Spanish giants who have struggled in the recent season to match the might of Real Madrid and Barcelona. In their second league match of the season, Valencia hosted Racing Santander and easily defeated the Spanish minnows by 1-0.

In their third match, Valencia took on the newly promoted Hercules Alicante and bested the men who defeated Barcelona at Nou Camp by 2-1. After the match with Hercules, Valencia played host to Atletico Madrid which was a difficult match for the men from the city of Valencia.

In the end, the match concluded with the score line at 1-1. Since then, Valencia managed to win both their last two league games against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao. Conversely, Barcelona began their league campaign with an authoritative three goal win against Racing Santander but then lost their second league match to Hercules Alicante at the Nou Camp.

Despite the fact that they won their third match in the Spanish Primera Division by 2-1 against Atletico Madrid, Barcelona have not been in the best of form this season. They have impressed in some matches but in most of their league encounters, the Catalonian fans have been waiting to see the full force of their team.

Pep Guardiola’s men won their fourth and fifth league encounters against Sporting Gijon and Athletic Bilbao but then only managed to draw their last league match against Michael Laudrup’s Mallorca.  Of course, the man to watch out for Barcelona is no one other than, Lionel Messi. He has already netted five goals in the Spanish Primera Division this season and will be looking to fire his team to a spectacular win against Valencia.

Alternatively, Joaquin will be looking to do the same thing for his home side. The Spanish national winger has been given the team’s arm band after Silva and Villa left and thus he has stepped up to set an example as a leader of the team. With two goals already this season, Joaquin Sanchez has all the ability in the world to inflict another defeat on Barcelona in the 2010-2011 Spanish league season.

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England v Montenegro preview

Therell be loads of money backed on England tonight, but there is risk there with a shakey defence against Vucinic and an unbeaten Montenegro squad. Your money is much better placed where there is better odds that is a surer bet. (England to beat Montenegro is placed as 1.04 at NaijaBet).

Craig Levine has already laid the ground for his tactics and doesnt mind disapointing Scottish fans to get any kind of result. If he can go to Prague and play 6-4-0 he can do the same against the best team in the world currently in Spain. I actually think he will play 1 up front and bring Miller back in, but thats more due to pressure to play at least somekind of attack from the supporters and Press than anything else.

He will definately play 5 in midfield as without it the Spanish midfield will just about dominate this match. Make no mistake Scotland cant hold a candle to this Spanish squad. They will only need 1 goal to win this, its just going to be a matter of breaking down the 9 men Scottish defence, but theres enough talent on show to do that

Slovakia v Rep of Ireland

1. Slovakia were unbelievably poor as they lost 3-1 in Armenia on Friday night in what was a really bad performance. They are a much better team than that performance and I expect a big response tonight.

2. We have to remember the Slovaks made the last 16 in the World Cup and have beaten Russia in Moscow already this campaign, so I expect that loss will have given them a real kick.

3. The Irish also got beat on Friday as Russia outplayed them early on and survived a late fightback to win 3-2. I think the Irish limitations were exposed and getting a goal will be tough tonight.

4. Ireland have been hard to beat under Trappatoni but certainly werent that on Friday and with both sides desperate to bounce back, Im backing home support to be crucial.