An important match for so many reasons, two of La Liga’s ‘other’ champions since the turn of the century have found themselves falling on the hardest of times. Depor sit away down in 16th, but are just 3 points behind a desperately disappointing Valencia side who are in 14th themselves. With 2 wins each in their last 6, neither side can really lay claim to the idea that they are playing well or getting regular results.
Indeed, the tattered make-up of both sides makes it even harder to know who is more likely to come out on top in this one. Pedro Mosquera and Luisinho are both missing for the away side – two parts of the defence who have played regularly, if not necessarily played well.
Meanwhile, Valencia are going to be short of Rodrigo and Nani, who has arguably been their best performer this season. Eliaquim Mangala is enjoying one of his suspensions, too, so the back-line will likely see the return of the hapless Abdennour to the side. Full-backs Martin Montoya and Jose Gaya are two of the rare bright sparks in a Valencia side that has to go down as one of the worst in living memory.
In midfield, Enzo Perez works hard but struggles to make the impact he did when wearing the red shirt of Benfica. Dani Parejo, the want-away captain of last season, has been one of the few players worth mentioning in the midfield. Young Carlos Soler has tried his best, too, but at times has struggled to make the breakthrough in a side that looks lost and out of ideas most of the time.
Up front, the likes of Fabian Orellana and Simone Zaza have been complete failures. The look incapable of providing the club with anything like the firepower they need to make the difference. Munir and Santi Mina try their best in the wide forward positions, but they lack the age and experience to make it count week in, week out.
This match, then, has all the hallmarks of a decisive game. We expect it to be a tough match to watch for all, but for Valencia to come out on top. While Depor have lost just one of their last five away games, Valencia need to find form eventually. With just one win in their last five, though, we feel uneasy backing them – if change is to come, though, it must be here.