Real Valladolid vs. Barcelona Preview, Odds, Predictions (May 23)
Xavi's side are La Liga champions once more, while Real Valladolid have been dragged back into the mother of all relegation battles.
As a team with nothing to fight for takes on a team literally fighting for its life, could Barca drop surprise points for the second La Liga outing on the bounce?
With Brazilian Ronaldo as the club president and Canadian Cyle Larin as the team’s top scorer this season, Real Valladolid looked to have secured their top flight status after a run of fine results last month.
The club parted ways with manager Pacheta after a 6-0 loss to Real Madrid on April 3, and new head coach Paulo Pezzolano hit the ground running with Valladolid flying out of the gates in their next three matches.
Only a 94th minute penalty stopped Pezzolano’s side taking all three points against Mallorca in his first game in charge, and the White and Violets went on to secure big wins against Sevilla and Girona.
That impressive run saw Valladolid rise to 14th in the table and all but certain of avoiding the drop - having battled up from the Segunda División last season.
But an abysmal run of form has seen all that work undone in recent weeks. A 2-1 defeat to Valencia on April 27th was followed by a 5-2 drubbing away to Atletico Madrid, and then by losses to Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla.
But Sunday’s 2-0 loss was especially worrying, as Cadiz strengthened their hold on 16th place while Pezzolano’s side fell back into the drop zone for the first time since February.
With Valladolid facing both Cadiz and 14th place Almeria in their final two games of the season, Pezzolano’s men face a dramatic run-in in their fight for top flight status.
Having just racked up their first La Liga title since 2018, Barcelona can be forgiven for having taken their foot off the gas against Real Sociedad on the weekend. In fact, Barca may still be recovering from having to run for their lives after clinching the top spot away to Espanyol the week before - check out Sara's hot take on that below:
Xavi’s side have been top of the league since November last year, with defending Champions Real Madrid enjoying an indifferent season domestically and Atletico Madrid also falling unusually far behind.
So it's perhaps unsurprising that Barca dropped points in a 2-1 loss to Sociedad on Sunday, with the title already wrapped and nothing left to play for in the league.
Nuts and Bolts
On 21 goals Robert Lewandowski is the league’s top scorer, and the German hitman has been Barca’s standout player in his first season with the Catalan giants.
The big number 9 has scored five in his last five matches, and Lewandowski will look to add to his tally against Real Valladolid tonight.
Pezzolano’s side have the second worst defensive record in the league, having shipped 62 goals overall and 14 in their last five matches.
Valladolid haven't beaten Barca at home since way back in the 2013/14 season, but after Xavi’s side dropped points against Real Sociedad last weekend could Pezzolano’s side sneak a much needed point tonight?
On the one side Barca could be a yard off the pace having already clinched the La Liga title this season. But Xavi’s side will also be keen to get back to winning ways at the José Zorrilla Stadium tonight.
All odds courtesy of Northstar Bets
With five goals in his last five games, and two goals last time these sides met, we’re backing Lewandowski to register at least two shots on target in tonight’s clash.
The home side are fighting for their lives while league champions Barca have nothing left to fight for. Xavi’s side dropped points on the weekend so could they slip up again here as a team desperate for every point they can get?