BY DAN CANCIAN
Barcelona returns to action on Tuesday afternoon when it hosts Valladolid as the midweek round of games in La Liga gets underway.
The reigning Spanish champions enjoyed an unplanned weekend off as the game against Real Madrid was postponed due to the ongoing political tension in Catalonia.La Liga Start 2019-20 Season: All You Need to KnowREAD MORE
Barcelona was scheduled to host its arch-rivals in the first El Clasico of the season on Saturday, but the fixture has been moved to December 18.
The postponement saw the Blaugrana relinquish their top spot in La Liga to Granada, who now leads the league over Barcelona by a point.
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The Catalans, however, could reclaim first place as early as Tuesday as Granada don’t play until Thursday afternoon, when they travel to Getafe.
While Barcelona players may have welcomed the unexpected rest, Ernesto Valverde will be hoping the unscheduled break doesn’t slow down his team’s momentum.
After a difficult start to the campaign, Barcelona has racked up seven consecutive wins in all competitions, including four straight in La Liga.
Unsurprisingly, Barcelona’s upturn in form has coincided with Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez returning from injury.
The duo have proved crucial in the Catalans’ rediscovering their goalscoring form and Barcelona now boasts the second-best attack in La Liga, just one goal short of Villarreal’s league-best tally of 24.
The return of Messi and Suarez has also had a positive impact on Antoine Griezmann, who has scored twice in his last three appearances.
The Frenchman, who arrived from Atletico Madrid for $133 million, scored twice in the second game of the season against Real Betis but had failed to get on the scoresheet since.
While there is a feeling Barcelona has not yet seen the best of Griezmann, Frenkie de Jong, the Catalans’ other big signing of the summer, has hit the ground running.
The Dutchman has been in imperious form so far this season and has quickly developed into a crucial cog in Barcelona’s midfield.
The Catalans are heavy favorites to extend their winning runs to eight games against Valladolid, who last beat the Blaugrana in 2014.
After returning to La Liga last season, the Pucela has started the current campaign well and will arrive in Barcelona mildly optimistic that it will improve its dreadful record against the five-time European Cup winners.
Ninth in the table and on a five-game winning run which includes two wins in the last four, Valladolid has proved hard to break down and boasts the joint-second best defense in La Liga.
Here’s everything you need to know ahead of Tuesday.
When and where is the game?
Barcelona hosts Valladolid at the Nou Camp on Tuesday, October 29, with kick-off scheduled for 9:15 p.m. local time (4:15 p.m. ET).
Barcelona has won nine of the last 10 games against Valladolid.
The game will be broadcast live on beIN SPORTS.
A live stream will be available via beIN Sports website and beIN Sports’ digital platforms, as well as via fuboTV.
Due to El Clasico being postponed, Barcelona dropped to second in the table and now trails Granada by a point.
Valladolid, meanwhile, extended its unbeaten run to five games by defeating Eibar 2-0 at home and climbed up to ninth in the table.
Barcelona remains without defensive duo Sergi Roberto and Samuel Umtiti, while Ousmane Dembele is suspended.
Valladolid will be without Luismi, Ruben Alcaraz and Fede San Emeterio.
According to Oddschecker, Barcelona is a 7/50 favorite, while the draw is at 8/1 and Valladolid is a 19/1 underdog.