Villarreal vs Valencia
All eyes in the historic city of Valencia will be on the Estadio de la Ceramica this weekend as La Liga restarts after the international break.
Javi Gracia’s Valencia take the short trip on Saturday across the city to face Villarreal, and they’re in for a tough afternoon.
The neighbours have lived alongside each other quite amicably over the years, though fans at the Mestalla are notoriously demanding and vociferous. So to be in the shadow of their local rivals while the stadiums are empty is easier on Los Murcielagos.
Villarreal are currently in fourth place in the La Liga table while Valencia sit in eighth and only a point behind, but the momentum is with the Yellow Submarine.
Last season, Villarreal finished strongly in fifth place while Valencia faded and ended up ninth, and the La Liga 2020 betting odds back the Yellow Submarine to secure a top six place again while Valencia are expected to tread water in mid-table.
The hosts’ boss Unai Emery has refreshed his squad while Valencia have been quiet in the market, and on Saturday we expect the Submarine to come out on top.
Unai promises silverware
On his arrival at Villarreal, new head coach Emery vowed to bring some silverware to the club and the signs are good.
Okay, the Yellow Submarine sank without trace in Catalonia when Barcelona gave Emery’s side a 4-0 hiding. But apart from that, the coach will be relatively pleased with his club’s La Liga 2020 results so far – picking up two wins and two draws from the other four games.
A 0-0 draw away to title chasers Atletico Madrid in the last time out was an example of how well organised Villarreal can be against the very top sides, while before that game, they put on an attacking show to see off Alaves 3-1.
Emery’s team has firepower up front with Gerard Moreno and Paco Alcacer bagging three goals each. But for this local derby, Moreno is carrying a hamstring injury and looks doubtful.
Two players moved from the Mestalla to the Estadio de la Ceramica over the summer transfer window.
Influential midfielder Dani Parejo has settled in to his new club, and Emery also brought Francis Coquelin across the city.
He managed the defensive midfield man at Arsenal, and the Villarreal boss has also headed back to North London to secure the services of Spurs’ Argentine defender Juan Foyth on a loan.
Break came at a bad time for Valencia
Former Watford head coach Javi Gracia has his work cut out at the Mestalla.
After starting reasonably well in the league by picking up seven points from four games, his side threw in a stinker against Real Betis just before the break.
Playing at home in an empty stadium is not the same of course, but Valencia were woeful as they were surrendering possession and mustering just five shots in the 90 minutes while their visitors managed 17 and deservedly ran out 2-0 winners.
To dwell on that misery for two weeks while the International break intervened must have been terrible for fans and players alike, and now they must face and in-form Villarreal.
Gracia has a bright spark in the form of 24-year-old striker Maxi Gomez.
He has scored three goals in the La Liga season so far and the young Uruguayan hopes to step into the shoes of either or both of his international heroes’ boots, as Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez approach the twilight of their careers.
Gomez is already making a name for himself in the international stage, scoring an injury time penalty as Uruguay beat Chile, 2-1, in a World Cup qualifying match for Qatar 2020.
Gracia has plenty of quality and experience in his squad with the likes of striker Kevin Gameiro, midfielder Daniel Wass, and Netherlands keeper Jasper Cillessen – who returns having put in impressive performances for his nation against Bosnia and Italy.
Valencia has a rich history in Spanish football and is six times winners of La Liga, most recently in 2004.
And the Yellow Submarine is known as a well-run small club and they have been a La Liga runner-up in 2008 while making a stand in Europe, reaching the Champions League semifinal in 2006 and the Europa League semifinal for the third time in 2016.
We’re heading for the 50th game played between Villarreal and Valencia since 1998 and the matches have been well contested.
The wins are currently 21 to 18 in favour of Valencia while there have been ten draws.
Villarreal won the last competitive meeting in June with a 2-0 tally.
|Villarreal vs Valencia||Half Time Full Time|
Home-Home @ 2.23
|October 18, 22:00 (GMT+8)|
Villarreal are hot favourites for this one at SBOTOP odds of 1.63, with the draw at 3.63 and Valencia out there at 4.84.
The Yellow Submarine looks to be in good shape while Valencia needs a huge reaction to their last performance and I just don’t think it will come soon enough for the derby.
|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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