Barcelona is again on track for the La Liga title

Barcelona is again on track for the La Liga title

Barcelona defeated Valencia 1-0 at Camp Nou with a goal from Raphinha to get back to winning ways in LaLiga. For the best sports betting casinos of March 2023, make sure you check out CasinoDaddy!

The first-half goal by the former Leeds United attacker put Barcelona 10 points ahead of Real Madrid, who will play at Real Betis later on Sunday.

Ronald Araujo was dismissed for a last-man challenge, therefore Xavi Hernandez’s team had to finish the game without a player after Ferran Torres missed a penalty to extend Barca’s advantage.

Barcelona is back on track in LaLiga after some changes

After a shocking loss to Almeria last week, Barcelona has rebounded impressively, defeating Real Madrid in the Cup del Rey on Thursday and Valencia on Sunday to resurrect its championship defense.

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Although neither performance has been outstanding, Barca will cite mitigating factors. Robert Lewandowski, Pedri, and Ousmane Dembele are still out injured, while Gavi missed Valencia’s visit due to a ban. Araujo was later lost for the final 30 minutes of the fight, but they were still able to cross the finish line.

The hosts got off to a strong start and took the lead rightfully when Raphinha flicked in a superb Sergio Busquets ball. Valencia entered the match at the conclusion of the first half, despite Barcelona’s post-half improvement being unnoticed.

Hugo Guillamon handled the ball, and Ferran missed from the spot by hitting the post. Moments later, Ansu Fati also missed from the spot while the play was still open. Araujo’s departure a few minutes later changed the momentum of the match, but Valencia was unable to capitalize.

They were upset that Franck Kessie’s challenge on Fran Perez did not result in a penalty, but they only had themselves to blame for managing only one attempt on goal.

Barcelona’s defense is key to their success

Despite defeating Real Madrid on Thursday, Xavi has come under fire for his team’s inability to control the ball at the Santiago Bernabeu, forcing them to defend. The defense of Barcelona, not their star-studded offense, is, in fact, what is driving their campaign for the league championship.

In 24 LaLiga appearances, goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen has 18 clean sheets. Throughout the league, they have only lost eight times. Furthermore, just one of those goals—a penalty versus Espanyol—was given up at Camp Nou. This season in the top division, they have not lost at home from an open play.

This streak of unwavering defense was tested in the last 30 minutes against Valencia, but even without Araujo, who has been one of their star players this season, they were able to restrict Valencia to a very small number of clear-cut opportunities. As they pursue their first league championship since 2019, the outcome nets them three more crucial points.

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Valencia is now 19th in LaLiga after their loss on Sunday, two points from safety. They are the only team in the table below Elche, who have only won twice all season. Of course, the results against Barcelona and Real Madrid will not determine their season, but Valencia’s lack of teeth was on plain show on Sunday.

They had a great chance to at least get a point against a Barcelona team that was missing four of its most crucial players — Lewandowski, Dembele, Pedri, and Gavi — and later reduced to 10 men. The fact that they were unable to seriously worry Ter Stegen would have irritated Ruben Baraja, the new coach who recently took over for Gennaro Gattuso.

The 1-0 victory against Real Sociedad last Saturday was a response to Baraja’s hiring, but much work has to be done to prevent what would be an unexpected relegation.

Author: Bobby Parker