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Michael Taylor 5th Dec 2008 - 21:10

Things could get Messi for Valencia

Lionel Messi may have finished as runner-up for the Ballon d'Or but his recent performances have been anything but second best.

The stylish Argentine forward has been in sensational form of late scoring nine times in just eleven La Liga games, including two against Sevilla last weekend, and 15 in 17 in all competitions.

This week it is up to third placed Valencia to stop the 21-year-old, and to make the job even more difficult for 'Los Che' they will be without star defender Carlos Marchena following his dismissal against Real Betis.

Messi is priced at 4/5 to score anytime during the game which could be a banker although a more attractive option may the 10/3 about scoring the final goal of the game. With a high proportion of his goals coming late in games his pace and power are a tired defender's worst nightmare.

Barcelona themselves are in great shape as they find themselves four points clear at the top of the Primera division and unbeaten since their shock opening day loss to Numancia.

The Catalan giants hired Pep Guardiola as a replacement for Frank Rijkaard in the summer; a decision that is already looking like a stroke of genius.

A Barca win is priced at 1/2 which looks reasonable value given their dismantlings of Sevilla and Sporting Lisbon in the past two games, while the 5/1 about Valencia is big but surely unachievable.

In the other televised game on Saturday, second placed Villarreal face-off against Getafe.

El Submarino Amarillo or The Yellow Submarines are having a great season but they will be well aware that with Sevilla, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Valencia next up on their fixture the Getafe match is absolutely vital.

However, given Getafe's 3-1 victory over Real Madrid last week, the 7/10 about a Villarreal win could be short. In fact, a Getafe win could prove to be the best value bet of the weekend at 10/3 while the draw is 23/10.

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