Preview: Barcelona with a chance to put pressure on their rivals
Saturday's afternoon meeting between Barcelona and Valencia will give the Catalans a chance to pull three points ahead of Atletico Madrid. The bad piece of news for Los Che is that they have lost their last six visits to Camp Nou.
With only two goals in six matches when visiting the Catalans, Juan Antonio Pizzi's men are going to have to put together a very good performance.
Barcelona come into the match on great form, having won three straight, after their one goal draw away to Levante. Tata Martino's men followed that draw up with a 4-1 victory over that same Levante in the Copa del Rey, and finished them off mid-week at Camp Nou with a 5-1 drubbing.
Preview: Final hurdle of the year for title hunters Real
Cristiano Ronaldo served his second and final match ban in the Copa del Rey in midweek. The Portuguese winger, who opened the scoring with a header in the 2012/13 Spanish Cup final, was latter dismissed in the match. He was therefore suspended for two games and had to miss both legs against Olimpica de Xativa.
In his absence, Real Madrid were able to reach the Last 16 of the 2013/14 Copa del Rey. The team’s focus is now on improving in La Liga where they suffered a slip last weekend due to a 2-2 draw away to Osasuna. Los Blancos were forced to end Matchday 16 five points behind joint leaders Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. Ninth-placed Valencia will be keen to further embarrass Carlo Ancelotti and his players.
Preview: Underdogs Swansea City could cause Valencia upset
Valencia have lost their last three La Liga encounters, conceding nine goals in the process. Their tag of favourites in Group A does not seem justified by their current form. Coach Miroslav Djukic revealed that his men are “worried” about their poor run. So how will Los Che rise up to the challenge on the opening day of the 2013/14 UEFA Europa League? Djukic explained in the build up to the Swansea match:
“It's very important to win and put recent defeats behind us. We must stay focused, continue working and stop conceding so many goals. We're all looking in the same direction, with the same aim. We just have to keep things simple, go back to basics.”
Preview: Valencia will hope their home form against Barcelona will help
From the last six meetings between these two sides at the Mestalla, the hosts have only lost one match, but have also not won any. The other five matches ended in a draw, but at least that will give Los Che some extra motivation heading into Sunday's match.
After claiming his first piece of silverware since his arrival at the Nou Camp, Gerardo Martino knows that Miroslav Djukic's side will want to claim the full three points.
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Pleasure guaranteed with Mourinho’s Chelsea, Ronaldo’s Real Madrid and co.
Say goodbye to the World Football Challenge without pouring a single tear because the excitement of its replacement – the International Champions Cup – is just as high. ESPN channels, DirecTV, FOX Soccer, Sony Six and SuperSports are among the competition's broadcasters in USA, Latin America, Asia and Africa.
The United States of America are represented by David Beckham’s former side, Los Angeles Galaxy, while seven other European teams complete the list of participants.
Reigning UEFA Europa League winners Chelsea will be guided by the one and only Jose Mourinho. The Blues are joined by fellow English Premier League contenders Everton. The Toffees will be glad to clinch good results under Roberto Martinez as life with David Moyes is a thing of the past.
The Guinness International Champions Cup has some Italian spices to it in the form of Serie A's trio composed of Mario Balotelli’s AC Milan, Scudetto champions Juventus and 2010 treble winners Internazionale. And of course, the fiesta cannot be sparked without the glamour of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Real Madrid – currently holders of the Supercopa de Espana. Los Blancos are in USA with their Spanish La Liga rivals, Valencia.
There is so much to witness such as the attacking partnership of Llorente and Tevez in Juve’s team. This friendly contest also appears as an opportunity for young prodigies like Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku, ex-Barcelona B starlet Gerard Deulofeu and Spanish winger Jese Rodriguez to shine.
International Champions Cup 2013 Live Streaming and TV Listings
LiveSoccerTV presents accurate live TV schedules of the matches. The info below is restricted to viewers in USA:
Preview: Miroslav Dukic looking to guide Valencia to bigger and better things
After proving his worth as the manager of Hercules and Valladolid, Valencia’s new manager, Miroslav Dukic would be hoping to have an equally successful career with Los Che like he had back in his playing days. Dukic spent six years at the Mestalla and won quite a lot of trophies during his time there and would be looking to replicate the same success; this time as a tactician.
The International Champions Cup is comprised of eight teams that will play against each other in San Francisco, Phoenix, Los Angeles, New York, Indianapolis and Miami following the curtain-raiser in Spain.
Lionel Messi started the stalemate against Colombia on the bench, and the four time Ballon D’or winner awaits the same fate as he is yet to return to full fitness.
Much to the woes of Alejandro Sabella, the Argentina head coach will not be able to utilize the services of Gonzalo Higuain and Pablo Zabaleta as the duo face suspensions. Higuain received his marching orders after a malicious tackle on Ospina in the match against Colombia, whereas Zabaleta who was one yellow card away from suspension will also be out of the important clash.
Boca Juniors full back Clemente Rodriguez is set to replace the Manchester City man in the squad and will face competition from Gino Peruzzi and Hugo Campagnaro for a berth in the starting line up.
Eight teams will walk out to the pitch this week to take a lead into the second legs of their respective ties. The action will commence with two clashes on Tuesday: Celtic vs. Juventus and Valencia vs. PSG. Two blockbuster matches will take place on Wednesday as well; Manchester United will travel to the Bernabeu to take on Real Madrid while Borussia…
Miami Beach, Florida (February 10, 2013) – After successfully qualifying from Group F alongside Bayern Munich, Valencia begin their knockout stage adventure with a match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Mestalla Stadium. Kick-off time for this UEFA Champions League Round of 16 fixture is at 14:45 EST on Tuesday, February 12, 2013.
This clash comes at the right time for Los Che who have not lost a league game since going down 5-0 to Real Madrid on January 20. Fresh from last weekend’s 1-0 defeat of Celta de Vigo, Valencia will be after their first home victory in all competitions since January 12 when they defeated Sevilla 2-0.
Given the Chelsea owner’s intolerance with underachieving managers, it would be no news if Rafa suffers the sack in the very near future. However, should he remain until the end of the season, it is likely that his short-term contract at Stamford Bridge will not be extended.
So where is it next for the former Liverpool manager? We look at five clubs which could each offer Rafael Benitez an escape route.
Valencia was the club where Benitez first enjoyed notable success. He defied all odds by guiding Los Che to their first league title in 31 years, back in 2002. They enjoyed even more success in 2004 under Benitez’s guidance as they won both La Liga and UEFA Cup titles. From then onwards, Valencia have gone on a decline. Rafa could be the man to resurrect this team which is struggling to compete with giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.
The Mestalla has not been a great place for Barcelona as of late. From their last 10 visits in all competitions, the Blaugrana have only managed three victories, three defeats and four draws.
Sunday, Tito Vilanova's side will have to put their 1-1 draw against Real Madrid behind them and focus on grabbing their first win at the Mestalla since their 0-1 victory in March of 2011, thanks to a 77th minute goal from Lionel Messi.
Ernesto Valverde's side has been in good form as of late, having won five of their last six matches in the domestic league. Their one defeat came at the hands of Real Madrid with Jose Mourinho's side defeating Los Che 0-5 at the Mestalla.
Team news & analysis
Jose Mourinho’s decision to build competition between Iker Casillas and Antonio Adan has so far paid off well. Real Madrid are on a run of four consecutive clean sheets in all competitions since their 2013 opening match in which they conceded three goals against Real Sociedad.
Whoever gets in post on Wednesday will be eager to stretch Los Blancos’ record to five clean sheets on the trot. The good news for the visitors’ defenders is that Roberto Soldado will not feature in the match due to a thigh injury.
Skipper David Albeda is out with a calf problem while Dani Parejo has a fractured thumb. Two Valencia players who could make an appearance at the Mestalla are ex-Real Madrid boy Sergio Canales and Portuguese defender Joao Pereira.
Valencia were on a four-match winning streak until they lost to Real Madrid in midweek. That encounter, in the Spanish Copa del Rey, was marred by controversy as wrong offside calls went against Valencia amid other incidents.
As a result, this weekend’s league encounter is being hyped around the revenge factor. Los Che, who are not favourites to progress to the Spanish Copa del Rey semis, will be out to torment Los Blancos.
The latter are facing an embarrassing situation in La Liga being 18 points off the top of the standings. It seems to be only a matter of time before Real Madrid officially give up on defending their title. In the meantime, they are yet to reach the 40-point mark.
Real Madrid's La Liga title chances are now absolutely impossible after dropping further points this past weekend away to Osasuna. Barcelona now have a blinding 18 point lead over Jose Mourinho's team, which have left the whole football world in shock. But the season can still be salvaged with the Copa del Rey and Champions league still in play.
Madrid will host Valencia in the first leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final. Valencia have been in a great run of form winning 7 of their last 8 matches. Madrid will be fielding their strongest 11, and with Cristiano Ronaldo back in action, Real Madrid are sure favorites at the Bernabeu.
See video match preview below.
Team news & analysis
Real Madrid’s desire to dethrone Barcelona as Spanish Copa del Rey champions has significantly increased after the former fell 18 points off the top of La Liga table last weekend. The only way for the Spanish giants to recover from their serious headache in the league is by succeeding in cup competitions this season.
In Valencia, Real Madrid arguably have the toughest draw of the Spanish Cup quarter-finals. The good news is that they will be welcoming back Cristiano Ronaldo on Tuesday. The prolific Portuguese goal scorer was absent last weekend through suspension. His side apparently felt his absence as they drew blank against Osasuna.
According to the report of referee Miguel Ayza Gamez who officiated Wednesday Copa del Rey fixture between Real Madrid and Celta de Vigo, Ramos declared after being flashed the red card: “You're a crook. You have been trying to f*** us all game long. It's the same as always you scoundrels.”
Ramos eventually apologized but this did not stop the Spanish Football Federation from reacting. The player has thus received a one-match ban for the foul on Celta de Vigo's Augusto Fernandez and a four-match ban for his behaviour towards the match officials. He will miss Real Madrid's upcoming three Spanish La Liga games as well as the Copa del Rey Last 8 two-legged tie against Valencia.
Sergio Ramos was sent off for this horror tackle during Real Madrid’s Copa del Rey Last 16 second-leg fixture at home to Celta de Vigo on January 9, 2013:
Real Madrid and their master tactician Jose Mourinho will pay a trip to England to take on Manchester United. United has led the Premier League for most of this season despite not…
Arjen Robben is injured for Bayern and is set to miss out. Luiz Gustavo and Jerome Boateng have both been ruled out. Holger Badstuber is fit. However, he did not start the game against Nürnberg and might not start this one either. He is needed obviously though as Daniel Van Buyten is a risky choice against the fast Roberto Soldado.