Valencia is no longer being ‘run into the ground’

Valencia is no longer being ‘run into the ground’

By Papi Briano ‘Spanish Football Matador’

Match Day 7

In old news, Diego Costa returned to Atletico but will not play until January when the Atletico ban of registering players ends.  His presence will make that team a menacing proposition all around as Costa plays with a knife between his teeth; a trait that El Cholo loves and demands.  Back to the liga is that Barcelona remain the only team with a perfect record with Atletico and Valencia the only other ones that remain unbeaten.  This weekend’s fixtures should continue to prop the excitement around the liga which takes us to our order of business.

Valencia versus Bilbao: There’s something brewing at the Mestalla this season. Valencia, now under Marcelino, have a certain composure and discipline which I pointed out in game week two before they played Madrid.  They are no longer the quintessential template of a club being run into the ground.  Bilbao who are eleventh in the table will be no easy pushovers going by past results between the two.  Bilbao’s midweek participation in the Europa League could work against them since for Valencia without games in Europe, can only aim at building the team and collecting points in the league.  In their past 5 meetings, the form book favours Bilbao with three wins and two wins for Valencia.

The main threat from Valencia will come from their inspired striker Simone Zaza who has already scored five times this season.  There will be goals in this one since the Bilbao striking duo of Aduritz and Inaki Williams seem to be getting warm in front of goal. An interesting statistic for Bilbao so far is that they have scored and conceded in all the games.  The Valencia coach pulled a hamstring last weekend while celebrating Zaza’s late winner against Sociedad should be less animated this time on the touchline but you can never really tell with this guy! Both teams score.

Barcelona versus Las Palmas: The Catalans are yet to lose in the liga and are showing some old glimpses of the Barca football style of old.  Tiki-taka may yet soon explode onto the scene in full throttle after Luis Enrique favoured a direct approach to the MSN from the back by-passing the midfield.  Now Busquets and Iniesta are more involved in running the triangle with Messi dropping deep into midfield with a free role.  Palmas on the other hand are going through a rough patch right now having collected six points in six games. Their coach resigned in the week after the two nil home loss to Leganes. This is the absolute wrong time to be visiting Barca especially with Messi in the kind of form he is in right now.  Barca wax Palmas by at least over two goals.

Real Madrid versus Espanyol: Zidane’s troops are sixth on the log, curiously having lost once and drawn twice and yet to register a home win. Already 7 points behind Barcelona, there’s left precious little of any more margin for error.  Espanyol, from Barcelona by the way, have won, drawn and lost twice on each and have 8 points. CR7 seems to be back to regular business after his double in midweek against Dortmund quieted the loss of form whispers.  This fixture takes the form of an apocalyptic adventure for Espanyol as they have lost by a total of 23 goals while scoring only once in their last six clashes.  You already know where the money is…

Sevilla versus Malaga: Third versus nineteenth. Both teams are playing to the script so far, Sevilla being a money top three bet with Malaga a sure fire relegation candidate.  Sevilla have drawn and lost once thus far whereas Malaga have lost five times and drawn once.  With Sevilla coming off a morale boosting Champions league win in midweek I see no way how Malaga will dig themselves out this sinking sand situation.  The home team have a striker, Ben Yedder, who is on red alert in front of goal and I expect him to be the destroyer in chief against a creaky Malaga defensive unit.  The Sanchez Pizjuan crowd should roar Sevilla to at least two goals in this one.

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