Valencia look to seal up a Champions League place on Saturday when they travel to face Real Valladolid in Spain's La Liga knowing that a victory over their hosts will see them edge out Getafe.
Jose Zorrilla, Valladolid, Spain
Key Stat: Ten of Real Valladolid's 41 points this season have come from their last five matches (3W, 1D, 1L).
Expert Verdict: Despite how well Real Valladolid have been going on of late, you have to really like Valencia's chances here. Like it or not, there will be some part of the home side that is on the beach, and that will not- or shouldn't- bode well against a desperate Valencia side. They must win here in order to keep a firm grasp on the Champions League places, and they will do just about that in the end to get back to the promised land.
Sergio will be missing center midfielders Luismi and Anuar, winger Pablo Hervias, and forward Stiven Plaza due to injuries.
Enes Unal continued to show why he such a promising talent last weekend in their victory at Vallecano. His assist to Sergi Guardiola proved to be the winning moment of the match, extending his total to three. He’s also scored six times, with three of those coming from the spot, including one in that win, showing a cool head. Wide midfielder Oscar Plano is another to keep a close watch on. He’s scored three times but also leads the team in assists with four to his name.
Real Valladolid have three wins, a loss, and a draw in their last five matches:
1-2 win at Rayo Vallecano
1-0 home win vs Athletic Bilbao
1-0 loss at Atletico Madrid
1-0 home win vs Girona
2-2 draw at Alaves
Defenders:Moyano, Olivas, Calero, Nacho Martinez
Midfielders:Plano, Michel, Ruben Alcaraz, Waldo Rubio
Marcelino will be without center midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and winger Denis Cheryshev due to injuries, while young attacking midfielder Kang-In Lee remains with his youth national side.
Valencia wouldn’t be where they are right now if not for Dani Parejo. Their influential central midfielder has has scored nine times so far and has chipped in with a further six assists. His assist against Alaves on the second goal proved to be pretty important, and he’ll once again be essential here. Up front, Rodrigo will look to keep up his own great season. With seven goals and six assists to his credit, you can count on him to be a constant thorn in the side of the opposition defence.
Valencia have two wins and three losses in their last five matches:
3-1 home win vs Alaves
2-4 home loss vs Arsenal (UEL)
2-6 win at Huesca
3-1 loss at Arsenal (UEL)
0-1 home loss vs Eibar
Defenders:Piccini, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya
Midfielders:Soler, Wass, Parejo, Guedes
In 33 previous meetings, Valencia have 13 wins, 11 draws, and nine losses to Real Valladolid, though only one has taken place in the last five years. That was the 1-1 draw at the Mestalla back in January in which both teams traded second half goals to split the points.
Bet365 have the following odds available for this match:
Real Valladolid are at 8.00 to win, a draw is at 4.75, and a Valencia win is at 1.36.
Real Valladolid come into this match on a hot streak of late despite what the table might indicate. As thing stand, they are in just 16th place on 41 points this term. However, they are four points above relegation-threatened Girona, meaning they are safe no matter what happens in this, the final fixture of the season. That is largely because of their run recently, with three wins coming in their last four matches and a total of ten points being gained from their last five.
Valencia might have lost its chance to qualify for the Champions League via the Europa League by bowing out to a crushing two-legged defeat to Arsenal, but they have since regained the initiative in La Liga and are in pole position here. They sit in fourth on 58 points, level with Getafe for the final UCL slot. Should they win here, they will be guaranteed of a spot in the group stages due to head-to-head point totals. But should they slip up and draw or lose, then Getafe bettering their result would see them in in their stead.
Pucela haven’t had the prettiest of home records in La Liga this term. Currently, they have just 20 points from 18 matches. That is 18th in the division, but it has proven to be just enough to keep them afloat ahead of the season’s finale due to their recent run. Just one loss in their last five at home and eight points over that stretch have seen Ronaldo’s men get their nose just high enough about the water to stay alive.
Los Ches have been the fourth best team in the league so far when it comes to away matches, but that still doesn’t breed a ton of confidence in them given that they have earned just 27 points from 18 matches. It’s been a tough year on the road for Spain’s sides, and they have had a checkered run in as well. They have won three of their last five, but they have have lost the other two in alternating order. Should the pattern hold, they will lose here, and thus possibly a place at Europe’s adult table.
Ladbrokes have no for both teams scoring at 10/11.
Valencia scoring the first goal, via Betfair, is at 1.4.
It won’t be easy, but Valencia have the better players available to them here. They have been through tough European nights before, and that very experience could prove vital to winning here and getting them back to more of those.