Koeman under the spotlight against Valencia
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This will not be a common clash in between Barcelona and Valencia. Ronald Koeman will be reunited with the first club he ever coached in Spain and it will no doubt restore a flood of memories for both parties.
Koeman organized Valencia over the 2007/08 season, which ended up being among the most turbulent seasons in the club’s history, but which did end with a Copa del Rey triumph as his side ran out 3-1 winners versus Getafe in the last at the Vicente Calderon.
Koeman ousted 3 club legends from the very first group: Santiago Canizares, David Albelda and Miguel Angel Angulo. This was a move that sent out shockwaves through the club. Koeman was sacked just 5 days after winning the Copa del Rey. In spite of bringing silverware to the club, the bad lead to the league were enough to see him leave the club.
When he left Valencia, there were just two points from the relegation zone: the exact same position they discover themselves today as they take a trip to the Camp Nou desperately in requirement of a win.
Koeman is now in the dugout at the Camp Nou. Barcelona and Valencia are both tasks which include huge pressure, but he is a club legend at the Catalan side and that buys him some freedom – something he never ever had at the Mestalla.
It has actually been a rocky start for Koeman at Barcelona, however, with his side losing 4 of their first 12 league matches. Nevertheless, home triumphes over Levante and Real Sociedad have kept them in touch at the top of the table and seen the team grow in confidence.
Barcelona have actually been ravaged by injuries and will be missing Ousmane Dembele, Ansu Fati, Sergi Roberto and Gerard Pique for the video game. The Dutchman won’t be able to rest numerous players in spite of the heavy schedule showing up. He understands the value of winning these next games, especially the ties at home.
The main question will be how his side line up in defence, with Oscar Mingueza, Ronald Araujo and Clement Lenglet all in contention to start centrally. It’s most likely that they’ll line up with the same team that bet Real Sociedad.
Valencia do not enter to the match with much confidence, with simply 14 points from their first 13 league video games and having just scored 19 goals over that period, yielding the exact same number.
Teetering over the transfer spots, Javi Gracia’s side have their own injury problems and may have to toss in Jose Luis Gaya who is simply back from muscle issue, due to the injury to Toni Lato.