Madrid, Sep 20 (IANS): All eyes will be on the Mestalla stadium when Valencia encounter FC Barcelona in Spanish Premier League football Wednesday night.
Valencia, current leaders of the Primera Liga, entertain the reigning Champions in a match that will have a major effect on the way the season pans out.
Should Valencia defeat Barcelona and maintain their 100 percent record, it could mean they are indeed candidates to challenge the duopoly of Barcelona and Real Madrid this season.
However, if Barcelona leave Valencia's home ground will all three points, then it probably means the title will again be battled out between the Catalans and Real Madrid, with the remaining 18 clubs in the league trailing in their wake.
Valencia have had a fine start to the season. Despite losing key players, Juan Mata and Joaquin Sanchez, coach Unai Emery has again built a solid squad with central defensive pairing of Adil Rami and Victor Ruiz looking rock solid.
Meanwhile Roberto Soldado has been outstanding in attack, scoring five goals in the opening three games of the season.
Barcelona travel south after hammering Osasuna 8-0 Saturday night in a game that did much to raise the moral of a side that had come in for unfair criticism following 2-2 draws against AC Milan and Real Sociedad in the previous week.
Pep Guardiola said before that game that the crisis did not exist and insisted after the win that Barcelona were not unbeatable. He will ensure maximum concentration in a ground where Barcelona habitually suffer.
Defender Eric Abidal had to leave Saturday's game at halftime with a slight muscle injury and is a doubt for Wednesday with Adriano ready to step in at left back. Carles Puyol will continue in central defense and there is a chance that Gerard Pique will return to the squad following the muscle injury he suffered a month ago.
Andres Iniesta and Alexis Sanchez are still recovering from torn hamstring and Guardiola will probably continue with Cesc Fabrigas, Xavi Hernandez and Sergio Busquets in central midfield.
It is unlikely Dani Alves will play as far forward in Mestalla as he did Saturday and Pedro Rodriguez will come into the side to add width in attack.
David Villa returns to face his former club, while Leonel Messi is in fine form after his hat-trick against Osasuna and will be looking to continue the understanding he has built up with Cesc.