Ronald Koeman faces a ‘decisive game’ as Barcelona boss against Valencia tonight in front of a full house at the Nou Camp as Spanish papers look forward to a crucial week that includes a must-win Champions League clash and El Clasico
- Barcelona take on Valencia on Sunday in a crucial match for the Catalans
- Ronald Koeman’s side are ninth in LaLiga – eight points behind the leaders
- Spain’s newspapers have branded the Valencia clash as ‘decisive’ for Koeman
- The Camp Nou is set to have many empty seats despite a full capacity allowed
Barcelona’s LaLiga clash with Valencia on Sunday has been branded as ‘decisive’ for the Catalans’ season as Ronald Koeman prepares to face a full Camp Nou for the first time.
The Spanish giants have endured a poor start to the season and currently lie in ninth place in the LaLiga table and have also lost their first two Champions League group games, with reports in Spain claiming it is a matter of when – not if – Dutch boss Koeman will be sacked.
Before then, however, the Catalans face a crucial week with Valencia coming to the Camp Nou on Sunday, before a European clash with Dynamo Kiev three days later, ahead of next weekend’s Clasico with Real Madrid.
Ronald Koeman faces a ‘crucial’ match as Barcelona boss against Valencia on Sunday
Spanish paper AS has predicted ‘Sunday fireworks’ as a full Camp Nou is allowed once again
The Valencia league clash is deemed vital by Sunday morning’s Spanish papers as it provides Barcelona with a great chance to close the eight-point gap to LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad.
However, the game also holds a particular importance as it will be the first time Barcelona’s Camp Nou stadium can hold a full stadium since the coronavirus outbreak at the start of 2020.
Spanish newspaper AS promised ‘Sunday fireworks’ as Koeman and president Joan Laporta prepare to face the wrath of a full Barcelona stadium for the first time.
However, fellow publication SPORT claim many Camp Nou seats will be empty Sunday’s clash with Valencia as the club struggle to sell seats – even though 100 per cent attendances were allowed by Spanish authorities before the October international break.
SPORT claim Sunday’s Camp Nou clash is ‘decisive’ for the Catalans in their LaLiga season
Indeed, Barcelona even struggled to get fans through the turnstiles for their limited-capacity matches that were allowed at the start of this season.
Just 31,000 out of the 40,000 tickets available were sold for the Champions League clash with Bayern Munich in September, while 1,000 seats went spare for a league clash with Getafe in August.
Empty seats at the Camp Nou is not what Barcelona chiefs want to hear after announcing a £1.15billion debt over the summer, with president Laporta blamed on the previous regime run by Josep Maria Bartomeu.
SPORT also claim that Laporta is set to pitch his new project for the club to see them through this financial turmoil next week.
The Camp Nou is set to have many empty seats despite a 100 per cent capacity allowed again
But some good news for Barcelona in the mean time is that Sergio Aguero is fit and available for the first time since completing his free transfer from Manchester City and could make his debut for the Catalans against Valencia on Sunday.
‘He’s improved a lot lately, playing 20 to 25 minutes in Wednesday’s friendly. He’s going well,’ Koeman said about Aguero’s fitness.
‘He isn’t in match or physical rhythm, but that will come with game time. He’s in contention to be in the squad, he can bring a lot to the side.
‘The important thing is that he improves fitness-wise, and he’ll do that playing games.’