Valencia are in desperate need of three points as they prepare to host Zaragoza this Saturday at the Mestalla (3pm, BST).
Here’s the thing about Valencia: they’ve been hit heavy by injuries to key players in the centre of midfield. The team also need to move on from the departure of Unai Emery and learn to adapt to the changes brought forward by new manager Mauricio Pellegrino. But importantly, they need to stop shipping goals.
For now, Valencia look uneasy about themselves, lacking confidence to see out a game from a decent or even good position, and they’re really lacking any great direction in their play.
Sitting 15th in the league and with only five points is simply not good enough for a club like Valencia. They lost 2-0 last week away to Mallorca, who are, in contrast, having a very good start to the season. Valencia need to find something, goals especially, and an ability to take points when they are on the table.
They desperately miss Ever Banega and Sergio Canales in the midfield, two players who give the team purpose and drive. Without them, players like Daniel Parejo don’t give much to the midfield. A small consolation, however, might be added through the availability of Fernando Gago, who is back in training after picking up an injury during the international break.
Mauricio Pellegrino is also without winger Pablo Piatti for two months following his stupidity in training earlier in the month which led to a broken arm. Andres Guardado, a summer signing from Deportivo, also needs to weigh in with something in attack from the left flank.
For now, Roberto Soldado looks to be the only player able to find the net on a consistent basis. Sofiane Feghouli is also working exceptionally hard for the team, but he’s not a great source of goals or creativity.
It’s very much stop start for Valencia this season. They had a good result a couple of weeks ago against Celta Vigo, but, as mentioned, were unable to get anything from Mallorca last weekend.
On the other hand, Real Zaragoza are looking fairly decent, with one more point so far than Valencia. But the difference between the two sides is that Zaragoza narrowly avoided relegation last season, while Valencia won the “other league” in Spain and are now competing in the Champions League.
Zaragoza won their last game at home against Osasuna, beating the club from Pamplona 3-1.
The thing about Zaragoza is that they are a scrappy team. They’ll fight and hassle and won’t be told when they’re defeated. Their problem, however, is similar to that of Valencia, in that they are also not able to pick up points consistently and where they need to.
Zaragoza have little hope against the big teams in the league, but in order to avoid relegation, they need to take what they can get from the teams who are much closer to them.
Former Tottenham striker Helder Postiga will lead the line for Zaragoza this weekend. The Portuguese forward has two goals so far this season.
Valencia v Zaragoza Betting Tips Advice
- I expect Zaragoza to give Valencia a game at the Mestalla, but it’s difficult to see the away side coming away with three points. I’m backing Valencia to get a much-needed win at home, though the odds are short at a best price of 4/9 with BetVictor, Blue Square & Ladbrokes.
- With very few genuine scoring options available at the moment for Pellegrino, back Roberto Soldado to get the first goal, biggest at 10/3 with Boylesports.