Can rejuvenated Valencia topple Barcelona in big La Liga clash?
Los Che have been superb under Marcelino
It’s a top of the table clash that involves a slightly more intriguing element than usual – one of those teams is not Real Madrid.
Second-placed Valencia host Barcelona at Mestalla Stadium in a battle involving two unbeaten teams.
Valencia sit just four points behind their illustrious rivals with 30 points after the first twelve fixtures. A win for Los Che at home could close the gap to a solitary point.
With both sides facing a transitionary period, many were expecting Real Madrid to run away with another title. But it hasn’t transpired that way.
The Coral News Team takes a closer look at the two sides, and how it could go.
Both Valencia and Barcelona had new managers installed this summer. Marcelino Garcia Toral taking over at Los Che and Ernesto Valverde replacing Luis Enrique at Camp Nou.
Marcelino brought in a raft of underachievers from across Europe, signing the likes of Simone Zaza, Geoffrey Kondogbia, and Goncalo Guedes.
Indiscipline was rife within the club but the former Villarreal manager has instilled a huge work ethic and workplace respect.
Everyone is now pulling in the right direction and playing an attractive style of football.
At Barca, Valverde has also brought his own type of discipline. A former coach of Athletic Bilbao, he has brought defensive solidity to Blaugrana.
The former Barca player has made them much more difficult to beat while still allowing Messi et al to flourish.
Barcelona and Valencia have played some of the best football across Europe this term.
In fact, Marcelino’s side have scored 10 more goals than Real Madrid, and just one less than Barca.
Los Che have won nine Primera Liga games in a row – their best form in years. And the only points Valverde’s side have dropped all season have been in the 1-1 draw with Atletico Madrid.
Both sides tend to line-up in similar 4-4-2 formations with Kondogbia and Dani Parejo patrolling midfield for Valencia. Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic marshall Barca’s central area.
There will be a lot of wide play on show here with a concentration on the fullback areas.
Expect lung-bursting forays from the likes of Jordi Alba, Jose Semedo, and Jose Luis Gaya.
This should be a hugely exciting affair. It’s safe to say that the Coral News Team is expecting goals at both ends.
Both Teams To Score is 4/9. Over 3.5 Goals is 11/10.
Barca have conceded just four goals this season in La Liga. However Valencia have managed 16 strikes in just six games – something has to give.
Blaugrana are arriving at Mestalla off the back of a tough 0-0 draw with Juventus in midweek and may not be as fresh as their hosts. Valencia to score first is 7/5.
With both sides in such good form, backing the draw at 3/1 makes most sense.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing