With local bragging rights up for grabs on the La Liga’s return to action this week, Valencia will be looking to kick-start their European charge when they welcome Levante to an empty Estadio de Mestalla on Friday night.
Crashing out of the Champions League thanks to a horrific 8-4 aggregate defeat against Italian outfit Atalanta prior to the break, the Bats will simply be looking to wipe the slate clean after what has been a sluggish second-half of the campaign.
On the flip side, while Friday’s hosts might have recorded just a sole victory in their previous eight appearances, Levante find themselves almost stuck in La Liga limbo upon their return this week.
Sat eight points clear of the drop zone and six points adrift of the top half, Granotas will simply be looking to hand their bitter rivals’ European ambitions another dent on Friday night.
However, with Valencia landing a 4-2 win when they made the trip across town earlier in the season, the Bats have picked up back-to-back victories against Levante and a similar outcome this week can be found priced at 7/10 with Bet365.
The Bats’ defensive headache
Last seen crashing out of the Champions League after being hit for back-to-back fours against Atalanta, the enforced break couldn’t have come quick enough for Valencia.
Slipping out of the European spots and desperate to kick-start their La Liga campaign, Friday’s hosts had previously managed to win just one of their last eight appearances, a run that stemmed back to February 1st.
While Valencia might have continued on what has been a remarkable unbeaten record at the Estadio de Mestalla on domestic duties this season, Head Coach Albert Celades has had a continued headache over his side’s issues at the back.
Including being hit with a pair of 3-0 drummings against Getafe and Real Sociedad back in February, the Bats had shipped at least a pair of goals in six of their last eight contests prior to the break.
With that run also highlighted after crashing out of the Copa del Rey against La Liga debutants Granada, you might be interested to know that Celades’ fragile defence can be found priced at 4/11 with Paddy Power to once again be breached on Friday night.
Levante – The away day strugglers
Although a stunning 1-0 win at home against title challengers Real Madrid back in February might have given Levante the shot of life they were looking for, the Frogs really highlighted their inconsistencies the following week.
Putting in what some branded a season-worst display and hit with a dreadful 3-0 drumming away at Eibar, Head Coach Paco López has been extremely vocal about his side’s worrying displays on the road prior to the break.
All but guaranteed what appears to be another mid-table La Liga finish this season, Levante have lost their last five top-flight matchups away from the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia and have collected just three away points out of a possible 24 since the start of September.
Along with their complete collapse away at Eibar back in February, it should also be highlighted that Friday’s guests have shipped at least a pair of strikes in each of their previous five defeats on the road.
With that woeful run also epitomized by a 3-1 drumming away at Sevilla while on Copa del Rey duties, López’s men can be found priced at 8/11 with William Hill to ship over 1.5 goals in this weekend’s derby showdown.