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Three things that could shape the outcome of Valencia vs. Barcelona

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Barcelona travel to Mestalla and a date with Valencia for their next La Liga game.

It's a match that's almost always high on quality and goals, Los Che generally provide the Blaugrana with one of their more tricky fixtures of the season and with the recent appointment of Gary Neville as manager, has an extra point of interest.

Last year for example, it took a 95th-minute winner from Sergio Busquets to hand the three points to Barca. Extremely harsh on their hosts who had been good for at least a point.

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The Blaugrana might be hoping for an easier ride this time around given that their hosts are struggling to replicate their solid form of 2014/15.

Although Valencia have been far from bad, their up and down results over the last couple of months has seen a successful fan campaign to have manager Nuno Santo removed. However, it is highly unlikely they would have been expecting the Sky Sports pundit to replace him.

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Hardly the ideal backdrop for the visit of the league leaders.

Let's take a look at three things that could shape the outcome of this one...

Flying Feghouli

In last season's contests, one of the most noticeable areas of play was down Valencia's right side where Sofiane Feghouli managed to completely take the sting out of Jordi Alba's tail.

A tricky, quick and direct winger, the likelihood that he will make an impact again in this game is high.

Alba will have to be content with a more defensive role once again because Luis Enrique will not want to concede as much territory as before.

An intelligent wide man, we should expect much of Valencia's attacking play to come down the right.

Non-stop

Barca cannot stop scoring at the moment. It is just non-stop.

Four against Real Madrid, six against Roma and four against Real Sociedad, and the majority scored by Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez, gives the hosts a general idea of what to expect.

Whether they will be able to stop the incessant tide of attacking play is up for debate at this juncture but certainly no one has been able to live with them since the trio hit their stride.

As close to footballing perfection as you could wish.

Defensive excellence

Although Barca's front men continue to grab all of the headlines, perhaps a few column inches should be reserved to give kudos to the back line.

After all, they've only conceded one goal in their last six games and even that was a last-touch-of-the-match header from Roma's Edin Dzeko.

Any decent football team that has ambitions to win trophies at the end of the season has to build their way of playing around a solid defence.

Indeed, every successful side in footballing history has profited only because their defence was on point.

Luis Enrique can have no complaints at the moment.

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Topics:
Valencia
La Liga
Gary Neville
Football
Lionel Messi
Barcelona

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