Valencia – Sevilla

Valencia are not very happy right now.

Being third in the table and, as Mazano said yesterday, “champions of the other Liga,” doesn’t bring much solace to a team who, in their last two matches, were kicked out of the Champions League by Schalke (3-1) and effectively drawn/quartered by a relegation-threatened Zaragoza side (4-0).

Sevilla, on the other hand, are in a run of mixed results: 3-1 over Sporting, 0-2 at Athletic, and 1-1 hosting Barcelona.  Our back line will be an interesting one today, as Manzano will not have Navarro or Cáceres at his disposal.  With these two playing the majority of the minutes at their respective right and left back positions, Manzano will look elsewhere, and may have to tag Alexis to play on the left in his return to La Mestalla, with Dabo assuming his position at right back.  It’ll be interesting.

Valencia and Sevilla have had differing narratives this season.  With the sale of David Silva and David Villa, Valencia have reloaded at the striker position with Soldado and Aduriz, both purchases likely made with the Davids’ transfer bonanza.  Their midfield also has new faces: Mehmet Topal and Tino Costa have become staples in the center for the side.  An expected post-Davids depression never hit La Mestalla, but their goal tally may be a bit lower this year than in years previous: Sevilla and Valencia sit at 42 goals apiece for this La Liga campaign, a number that looks to underachieve last season’s 65 and 59 respective totals.

In the end, Valencia are a good team, but may be a bit shaken from recent results.  Of course, all teams are professional and should approach each match free of the weight of prior defeats, but we all know things don’t work like that.  Valencia are also 11 points from the Europa spots and shouldn’t be too worried about falling below fourth place.  At the same time, they are 19 points out of 2nd.  Sevilla, on the other hand, will be fighting for Europa qualification and against a rival that many other teams have dropped points against, so a victory would boost us into a good position to overtake Athletic or Espanyol in subsequent weeks.

A por ellos!!!