Barcelona show determination to continue La Liga dominance

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Carles Puyol has noted that Barcelona are as hungry as ever to win the La Liga title this season and this was displayed as they battled back from behind to secure victory over Valencia.

Barcelona have been slightly lacklustre at the Nou Camp so far this season having been defeated by Hercules and held to a draw by Mallorca.

More points looked on course to be dropped when Pablo handed Valencia a first-half lead, but Andres Iniesta and Puyol struck in the second period for Pep Guardiola’s team to help them move into second in the La Liga standings.

Barcelona are the 8/11 favourites to win La Liga, with Real Madrid, who are currently top by one point, 11/10.

Puyol stated that the team are not getting bored of winning trophies and are eager to secure a third straight La Liga title.

He said:: “The team showed that they want to carry on winning and are still hungry. The most important thing was the reaction because it is when things go wrong that you really need to display character and the team did that.”

One problem that may stand in Barcelona’s way is the injury problems affecting playmaker Xavi, who suffered a recurrence of an Achilles problem in the Valencia victory.

Xavi assisted both goals in the win and his ball retention skills and passing abilities make him one of the most pivotal players in the Barcelona team.

Guardiola is now facing up to having to be more selective in terms of when to pick Xavi, which will put added pressure on Iniesta to provide the creativity from the middle of the midfield.

Real Madrid have no such problems as Jose Mourinho seems to be getting the best out of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Ronaldo currently tops the scoring and assist charts in La Liga and is forming a formidable partnership in attack with Gonzalo Higuain.

Valencia dropped to third after losing to Barcelona and are 25/1 to win La Liga. See the full La Liga betting odds market.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.