Kick off: Saturday 7pm. Live on Sky Sports 4.
With a kick-off time 2 hours ahead of Real Madrid, Barca have the chance to move back to the top of the table ahead of Jose Mourinho’s side’s tricky visit to the Mestalla.
A four-goal win would be enough to see them regain top-spot, for an hour or two at least, and you wouldn’t rule it out against a Zaragoza outfit who look set for a relegation battle this season.
Barca’s home form has been sparkling in La Liga, 26 scored, none conceded. Only Sevilla have left with a point, largely due to Messi’s last minute penalty miss and the heroics of ‘keeper Javi Varas.
After a disappointing international break for Barca’s Spanish contingent they’ll be glad to get back to some home comforts but Messi has commented on being ‘knackered’ by his traveling this week so it will be interesting to see if Guardiola shuffles the pack. He doesn’t have too many options though so Messi looks likely to have patch up his apparent differences with David Villa and get on with it.
As for Villa, he’s playing through something of a slump in form but with Alexis Sánchez not fully fit and Pedro sidelined options are limited. A match against Zaragoza however could be the perfect opportunity to blow away a few cobwebs.
Only Osasuna have lost more goals than the Blanquillos this season so I expect Barca will fancy a scoring spree. They’re virtually unbackable to win at odds around 1/16 but you can have 4/9 (Bet365, Boylesports) that Barcelona score 3 or more, or 11/10 (Bet365) that they score 4 or more.
In the goalscorer market Lionel Messi is the shortest price I’ve ever seen for a player to score anytime at just 2/5 (Coral) – he’s 2/9 in places! To score first it’s not much better, with most firms going 7/4 (SkyBet, Ladbrokes, William Hill). Again, the bookies are making it very hard for us to find any value in this match.
However I fancy a bit of William Hill’s 7/10 that there will be a Barca goal scored in the 76th – 90th minute. Don’t forget that this period will also cover any injury-time so you could squeeze a bit more value out of the bet. If things are tight, Barca will be going all out to get a Winner, altenratively Zaragoza could be well beaten by then and be shipping goals towards the end. Either way it looks worth a small interest.