The Blaugrana face a tough challenge this Sunday as they travel to Valencia to play against the men led by Ernesto Valverde for Week 22 of La Liga
Valencia are seventh in the table, just outside the spots that give direct access to the Europa League, on 33 points from 21 matches. Of their last five matches they’ve won two, tied one and lost two, this includes a triple showdown in La Liga and the Copa del Rey against Real Madrid. Los Blancos defeated Valencia 2-0 in the away leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-finals before firing for five unanswered goals in the Liga match days later at Mestalla. The following match against Madrid, the return leg of the Cup quarter-finals, ended in a one-all draw.
Not including the poor results against Madrid, Valencia have performed relatively well in the Liga since the new year. They defeated Sevilla 2-0 at home and edged Deportivo 2-3 at the Riazor two weeks later. Their first game of 2013 also resulted in a victory. Valencia travelled to Granada for Week 18 of La Liga and narrowly took the three points thanks to goals from Jonas and Piatti (1-2).
ONES TO WATCH
Valencia has been, and continues to be, home to world class players. Over the years, however, some of the team’s brightest stars (David Silva, David Villa, Jordi Alba, Isco, among others) have been sold to alleviate the club’s financial situation. Despite this relatively recent trend, Valencia have remained competitive. Roberto Soldado is Valencia’s highest scorer in the league with 10 goals from 21 games. Soldado is accompanied by Jonas (four goals) and NelsonValdes (four goals), both of whom are dangerous if underestimated. The three forwards are flanked by a talented midfield led by Éver Banega. The midfielder sets the tempo for his teammates and he links up well with the Mexican Guardado, and the Argentine Piatti.