Three match days ago, this was probably a given. Valencia, totally bereft of any form, confidence or belief, were playing host to Atletico Madrid. The Mattress Makers had recovered from a tough start to the season, and were on a steady upward curve in all competitions. Valencia, meanwhile, had lost every match.
They looked shocking at the back, dour in midfield and silent upfront. The same could not be said of the Atleti. Even with frustrating start of season draws, they still looked a dynamic threat going forward and were drawing unfortunately.
Valencia, though, deserved to be where they were. They were shocking!
Speed forward to Match 7, though, and things look a little rosier. Atletico are still in fine form, with good results at home and abroad so far proving the club was on the right track. Valencia had also picked up two wins in a row, scoring vital goals and creating confidence in a squad which had none.
This match, then, now promises to be the usual barn-burner that it should be. As two of the biggest clubs on the planet go head-to-head, we should be seeing a game of extreme quality.
The main thing we wish to look at for this match, though, is the lack of adventure for Valencia. The Mestalla club have weekdays free this season following a horrible last campaign. Atletico, meanwhile, will be coming back from a (yet to be played) trip to the Allianz Arena, Munich.
So, what can we expect from these European adventures? Is it likely that we will see an extensive change in the way people are going to perform due to tiredness?
This week, we expect it won’t matter. The season is still young and a trip to the Mestalla at present isn’t as daunting as it could be. Valencia are still recovering from early season shake-ups and thus we should see a match that, if Atletico turn up, will be an away win.
Even adding into account the freshness Valencia have over their rivals, Atletico are what we would deem as “superfit”. They are also a team who challenge for titles and have gone to the wire in at least one trophy since Cholo arrived as manager in 2011.
Valencia, meanwhile, rarely compete to the seasons end these days. As such, we expect that Los Che will struggle even with the added fitness.
The season is still young and the increased cohesion for Atletico Madrid means that their comparative tiredness should be negated. We are going to call this as a comprehensive victory for Atletico – in performance, if not in score.
In Diego Alves, Valencia have a wonderful goalkeeper. He has a habit of keeping scores down when they could be much higher. We anticipate that this could be one of those games. If Ezequiel Garay is fit for the home side, though, things may be slightly different.
We just don’t see Valencia wining the midfield, which can be perilous against a team as good as Atletico.