Valencia vs Levante
It’s the big La Liga match of the weekend in Spain. Valencia vs Levante is a lively local derby with plenty of history and lots at stake in the present day.
The hosts would normally expect to beat their neighbours at the Mestalla. But after a disappointing finish to the 2019/20 La Liga season, they start this campaign with a squad ravaged by summer sales and injuries.
These two clubs were separated by just three places and four points last term, with Valencia finishing ninth. And Levante will be aiming to draw first blood in this campaign in the behind closed doors clash.
The La Liga news has been dominated by transfer sagas in recent weeks, noticeably the circus around Lionel Messi’s “will he won’t he” move to Manchester City. So it’s great to get back to action on the field and the Valencia Derby is a fantastic opener.
Valencia short of numbers
Finishing the campaign three points off a top six place was a huge disappointment for a team in the hunt for Champions League football for a second successive season.
They reached the last 16 of this year’s European competition before being destroyed 8-4 by Atalanta, and then Los Che rather limped over the line in La Liga.
So head coach Albert Celades fell on his sword to be replaced by Javi Garcia. But the former Watford boss already has a lot on his plate and a top six finish in 2021 looks a long way away.
Valencia are vulnerable in this opener having waved goodbye to some key players. Winger Ferran Torres has joined Manchester City, and Francis Coquelin, Dani Parejo, and Rodrigo Moreno have also packed their bags.
After six successful seasons at the Mestalla, Rodrigo has headed for the Premier League’s new boys Leeds United in a £29-M deal and he’ll be a big miss, having scored 59 goals in 220 games for Los Che, helping them to a Copa del Rey triumph in 2019.
To add to Garcia’s woes, keeper Jasper Cillessen and striker Kevin Gameiro are also doubtful with injury, with Maxi Gomez likely to lead the line in attack.
Levante in good shape
The visitors have far fewer personnel problems and head coach Paco Lopez almost has a full squad to choose from.
Los Granotas have had a good pre-season, beating Mallorca and Villarreal as well as playing out a goalless draw with Valencia.
Lopez has brought in winger Jorge de Frutos and forward Dani Gomez to strengthen his team which is certainly capable of another mid-table finish.
The pre-match Valencia vs Levante news is dominated by Valencia absentees but Levante have one key player of their own missing.
Striker Roger Marti is out and he’ll be missed, having scored four goals in his last four games against Valencia, so Pedro Leon will lead the attack and there could also be a start for De Frutos.
While Valencia have plenty to worry about at the start of this season, history is in their favour having won 13 of the 27 derbies since 2005, with Levante picking up five victories, and there have been nine draws.
Los Che are unbeaten at home against Levante in 13 encounters and unbeaten in six derbies home and away.
The two sides played out a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla in June when Levante pulled off a miraculous 97th minute escape.
Los Granotas were down to 10 men when Marti was sent off with 15 minutes remaining, and when Rodrigo scored to put Valencia ahead it seemed Levante’s night was over.
But not so!
Valencia conceded a penalty with seconds remaining and Gonzalo Melero converted the spot kick.
|Valencia vs Levante||Under 2.50 @ 2.06|
|Sept 14, 03:00 (GMT+8)|
The Valencia vs Levante betting odds here at SBOTOP pitch the hosts as marginal favourites at odds of 2.04, with the draw at 3.30 and Levante at 3.30.
Levante have a good chance against a depleted Valencia squad, but winning at the Mestalla is a difficult task. Los Che have lost just one home league match in 20.
A draw could well be on the cards, and I’m going for a low scoring game.
Valencia finished last season with three 1-0 results, one win against doomed Espanyol and two defeats to Sevilla and Leganes, while in their last six games with five won, Levante have scored eight goals.
Neither side will want to lose this opening fixture, and while both will believe they can win, Valencia’s shortage of numbers may lead Garcia to be more cautious.
|A SHORT EXPLANATION ON HOW OUR () BETS ARE WORTH:|
|= €20 (Highly confident)||= €10 (CONFIDENT)||= €5 (SOMEWHAT CONFIDENT)|
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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