Barcelona defender Gerard Pique lashes out at media after criticism

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Gerard Pique has been under fire over his form.

Gerard Pique believes he is unfairly blamed for any goal Barcelona concede, after the centre-back was criticised for his role in Valencia’s second-minute goal during Sunday’s 1-1 draw between the two sides.

He failed to completely deal with a Los Che corner in the build-up to Ezequiel Garay’s goal, the latest in a string of high-profile errors from Pique this season that have cost Barcelona, who lost top spot in La Liga to Sevilla due to the result despite Lionel Messi‘s brilliant equaliser.

However, the defender believes the criticism he is receiving is harsh, and stems from people in the media having it out for him.

“I know that there are many people who are hoping that things don’t go well for me,” the 31-year-old said.

“They can enjoy it, they should come out of their caves and enjoy the sun. There are many people waiting for me and want to go for me.

”When we concede a goal it’s my fault, there are people who are waiting for me, but not only in Madrid. The TV can take advantage, come out of the cave, because this is going to change.”

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Brazil midfielder Arthur retains spot in Barcelona XI for tricky trip to Valencia

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Arthur retained his spot in the Barcelona midfield for Sunday evening’s La Liga trip to Valencia (22:45 UAE KO), with Thomas Vermaelen’s replacement of centre-back Clement Lenglet the only change.

Arthur, 22, excelled during his first Champions League start on Wednesday – a 4-2 win at Tottenham Hotspur. Such form convinced head coach Ernesto Valverde to keep faith in the summer buy from Gremio, as the champions attempt to arrest a three-game winless run in the top flight.

Elsewhere, as the leaders look to stretch their advantage thanks to Real Madrid’s shock 1-0 reversal at Alaves on Saturday, Samuel Umtiti’s injury gave Vermaelen just a second league start of the season.

His previous run-out, however, was last month’s 2-1 loss at Leganes.

Valencia came into the match in an unfamiliar 16th place.

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Live Barcelona Blog: Blaugrana reveal starting XI, highlighted by Arthur

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The Sport360 Team is in place bringing you the latest Barcelona news on Sunday.

Fresh from their victory over Tottenham in the Champions League in midweek, Ernesto Valverde’s side take on Valencia at the Mestalla in La Liga this evening (10:45pm kick-off time).

After Real Madrid‘s shock defeat at Alaves on Saturday night, Barca can cement their position at the top of the table with all three points.

As ever, get in touch with us via Twitter and Facebook.

9:50pm – Barca’s starting XI sees Arthur in and Dembele out

The starting XI has been unveiled for the clash against Valencia and includes Arthur, while Ousmane Dembele begins on the bench.

See the full lineup below.

1:30pm – Blaugrana travel to Valencia

10am – Barca take full strength squad to Valencia

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