Barcelona will move seven points clear at the top of La Liga on Sunday if the beat second-placed Valencia
However, Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde warned against drawing conclusions in the title race at this stage of the campaign.
Barcelona are 18 games unbeaten in all competitions and qualified for the knockout stages of the Champions League in midweek after a goalless draw at Juventus.
In La Liga, they’re four points clear of Valencia and seven ahead of Real Madrid, who beat Malaga on Saturday.
Valencia, under new coach Marcelino, are in good form as well. They have not yet been beaten in the league and are on a nine-game winning streak in all competitions.
“Whatever happens in the match, there will still be a long way to go in La Liga,” Valverde said in a news conference before the trip to Mestalla. “And regardless of Valencia’s form, it’s always a big game against them.
“If we win, mathematically speaking it will be important in La Liga, but I insist: the season’s just getting started and there’s a long way to go.”
Valverde, who coached Valencia briefly in 2013, admitted to being slightly taken aback at just how well his former club have started the season.
“I am relatively surprised even though I expected them to have a good year,” he added. “They have a clear plan, good players and a good coach.
“They don’t play [European football] in the week, which is good for their fitness, and when you add all that together good things can happen.
“They have [Goncalo] Guedes, [Simone] Zaza, Rodrigo [Moreno], [Carlos] Soler, all players who play very high and block the ball being played out from the back. They have the best counter-attack in the league and controlling that will be key.”