MARK O’Haire’s (@MarkOHaire) found an angle for Monday night’s derby in La Liga as Valencia prepare to take on neighbours Levante at the Mestalla.
Valencia v Levante | Monday 19.30
With Sevilla and Atletico Madrid both dropping points at the weekend, Valencia head into Monday night’s derby against Levante knowing, a win would send Los Che three clear off fifth and just one behind the defending champions, as the bid for Champions League qualification places hots up.
And Nuno Espirito Santo’s hosts are absolutely desperate to finish in the top-four. The summer investment into the fallen giants means qualification for Europe’s premier competition is paramount and anything other than Champions League football next season could be disastrous as Peter Lim looks to rebuild The Bats.
But since Nuno’s arrival, we’ve become accustomed to a new-look Valencia. It’s a vibrant, energetic, in-your-face style that’s worked wonders at the Mestalla. The aggressive pressing approach remains fairly new to Spanish football and Los Che have caught plenty of teams on the hop; opening the scoring in 21/30 (70%) of La Liga games.
Key defender Nicolas Otamendi is suspended for tonight’s fixture and midfielder Enzo Perez remains sidelined through injury but there’s more than enough depth to this Valencia squad to survive such absentees. The same can’t be said of their opposition Levante who are without holding midfielder Papa Diop and also their captain Juanfran for the derby.
The Frogs have lost nine of their previous 11 visits to top-six teams and also been beaten on seven of their last nine trips to top-half teams when Diop’s been missing from the team. And taking all away results into consideration this term, Levante have already suffered defeats in 9/15 (60%) of their road trips.
The visitors are only out of the relegation zone on a head-to-head record with Almeria. To their credit, Lucas Alcaraz’s team’s victory at Almeria in their last away game ended a run of 11 without a win on the road (D3-L8) but their return of W0-D2-L8 return at teams in 11th and above looks even bleaker when you see they’ve been beaten by two goals or more in six of those 10 matches.
Valencia have W12-D2-L1 of their 15 La Liga games at the Mestalla, keeping clean sheets in their last four outings. The Bats have come out on top by a margin of two goals or more in nine of those 12 victories and arrive at this fixture without defeat in nine.
Nuno’s men have looked the real deal in 2015 and should have plenty of opportunities to put Levante to the sword. The Frogs haven’t kept a clean sheet in 12 league games and so taking Valencia -1.5 on the Asian Handicap line at 5/4 with BetVictor seems the most sensible solution.
Taking this selection means we’ll profit should the hosts win by two goals or more. As well as winning nine of their 12 home victories by a margin of two goals or better, Los Che have come beaten the -1.5 handicap in six of their last nine games when welcoming bottom-half teams.
Valencia v Levante – Valencia -1.5 Asian Handicap (5/4 BetVictor)
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