MARK O'HAIRE'S (@MarkOHaire) European NAP heads to sunny Spain for Sunday night's clash between Real Betis and Valencia.
Real Betis v Valencia | Sunday 15th October 2017, 19:45 | Sky Sports
There’s a catalogue of quality European contests to look forward to this weekend – Liverpool v Man Utd, the Milan derby, Roma v Napoli, Atletico Madrid v Barcelona etc and so – but Sunday night’s clash between Real Betis and Valencia could trump them all.
The meeting in Seville pits together two of La Liga’s form sides playing exciting and enterprising brands of football. Genuinely, I’d urge you to tune in to Sky Sports on Sunday night and enjoy the encounter from the Estadio Benito Villamarin.
I’m backing goals with Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score standing out at 5/6 (Coral). Firstly, the numbers are encouraging; Betis have scored at least twice when dispatching Levante, Celta Vigo and Deportivo here whilst recording a sole clean sheet in front of their adoring supporters.
Betis’ brand of attacking football
The hosts have been involved in five successful Over 2.5 Goals selections already this season with BTTS banking on four occasions. Los Verdiblancos’ total average xG from open play stands at 2.80 per-game – the third highest tally in Spain.
New head coach Quique Setien has quickly implemented his attack-minded philosophy as Sergio Leon has made an impressive goalscoring start, Andres Guardado has performed with aplomb in midfield and veteran Joaquin continues to cause problems with Antonio Sanabria.
Guardado could be asked to play a deeper role on Sunday night with Javi Garcia out for the rest of the month and that might mean a return for the now fully fit Victor Camarasa in a more advanced midfield position. Los Verdiblancos should therefore carry plenty of threat in the final third.
Valencia revitalised under Marcelino
Like their hosts, Valencia have made a very encouraging start to the campaign, playing an attractive brand of football under new head coach Marcelino. Los Che remain unbeaten (W4-D3-L0) and have plundered 11 goals in their last three La Liga outings.
On their travels, the fallen giants have been involved in a 2-2 draw, a 1-1 stalemate and a 3-2 triumph with goals a familiar theme of Valencia’s away days. A huge 16 of their last 21 games as guests have seen both sides score with 15 of those featuring Over 2.5 Goals.
Los Che welcome back Geoffrey Kondogbia from a ban. He’ll slot in alongside Dani Parejo in midfield with Carlos Soler moving out wide and Goncalo Guedes operating on the opposite flank. Meanwhile, in attack the in-form Simone Zaza should partner Rodrigo, who scored his first goal for Spain in midweek.
Valencia’s 1.46 xG average from open play per-game is only bettered by Real Madrid and Barcelona this season so I fully expect the visitors to play their part in what should be a thrilling finale to the weekend’s European action.
Real Betis v Valencia – Over 2.5 Goals and Both Teams To Score (5/6 Coral)