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Valencia have slight advantage in key clash against Barcelona - David Villa

Shaka Hislop and Alexis Nunes talk Barcelona's transfer strategy heading into the January window after president Josep Bartomeu mentioned the club might be looking to buy.

David Villa believes Valencia will have an edge against Barcelona when his two former sides meet in a top of the table battle at the Mestalla on Sunday.

Valencia are on an eight-match winning run and second in the table, four points adrift of Barca.

And New York FC striker Villa told Valencia CF radio: "I see that they are currently the best two teams in Spain, not just because of their position in the standings but because of what they've proved in their games so far.

"I think it's going to be a great game, one of the best to enjoy and see in Spain. They both have to fear each other, and they do.

"Valencia have a slight advantage because they play at home and I know how significant the home fans are for the team at the Mestalla.

"But I hope the best team wins, because I have a lot of affection for my former clubs."

Villa, 35, said Valencia would have their hands full trying to limit the impact of Barcelona's Lionel Messi, the Liga top scorer with 12 goals.

After 12th-place finishes in the past two seasons, Valencia have thrived under coach Marcelino, keeping four clean sheets in their last five games and scoring 12 goals.

"I'm not surprised by the numbers," Villa said. "I've known Marcelino since he began his coaching career at Sporting [Gijon]'s reserves.

"When he signed for Valencia I told him that I was convinced that he would change the path of the team and the club.

"Thanks to results and his great work, this has been confirmed to me. I always celebrate his achievements and more so now that he is at Valencia."

Villa, Valencia's fifth all-time scorer with 108 goals, made 166 appearances in five seasons at the club before moving to Barcelona in 2010.

And he backed his team to continue their fine form, adding: "You see how Valencia play and you know that they are going to be up there until the end."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.

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