Valencia vs Athletic Club - Predictions, Betting Odds & Picks
- Valencia is in danger of imploding and could yet finish in the bottom half
- Athletic is below its opponent in the table but will overtake it with a win
- These two teams are moving in opposite directions and the form book could weight heavy
|What||Valencia vs Athletic Club|
|Where||Mestalla, Valencia, Spain|
|When||Wednesday, 1 July 2020, 1.30 PM EST|
|How to watch||beIN SPORTS|
Valencia fans would be entitled to look back to the turn of the millennium with a deep sense of longing. In 1998/99, los Che won the Copa del Rey, thrashing Atletico Madrid in the final. It then finished as runners-up in the next two editions of the Champions League, before winning two La Liga titles under Rafael Benitez in 2002 and 2004. It also got its hands on the UEFA Cup in the latter year, overcoming Marseille in the showpiece in Sweden.
The 2010s have not been quite so kind. It has been a case of one step forward, two steps back for much of the last decade, which has contained its fair share of lows as well as highs. Valencia started it strongly with consecutive third-place finishes in 2010, 2011 and 2012, but it slumped to 12th in 2015/16 and 2016/17 and looks set to miss out on the Champions League positions this term after finishing fourth in both 2017/18 and 2018/19.
At the midway point of the campaign, Valencia was sixth and seemed to have found its feet under Albert Celades, who replaced Marcelino in the dugout in the middle of September. But since a 1-0 victory over Eibar on matchday 19, Valencia has won only four of 13 games and is now closer to 12th place than fourth.
The form book could hardly read more differently for Athletic Club, which has lost just one of its last seven outings in La Liga. Although Valencia boasts one of the strongest home records in the division, Athletic will fancy its chances of coming away with all three points on Wednesday.
Valencia vs Athletic Club Odds
|Match result and margin of win||Odds|
Odds taken 30 June from BetMGM
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As touched on above, only the top three of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid have taken more points from their home games than Valencia. Athletic Club has also struggled on its travels this term, failing to turn draws into wins on several occasions.
Yet Valencia’s displays in recent defeats by Eibar and Villarreal suggest it could come unstuck at Mestalla for the first time this season. It has failed to score in three of its last four outings and is conceding far too many chances – only two teams in the whole division have higher Expected Goals Against tallies than Valencia. Back Athletic to continue its top-seven push here.
Valencia in Danger of Falling Apart Just as the Going Gets Tough
Valencia was toothless in Sunday’s 2-0 reverse against Villarreal. It could easily have conceded four or five goals against its rival for the Europa League qualification spots, and offered very little going the other way. Indeed, Celades’ side did not manage a single shot on target during the match, and it mustered a measly xG of 0.18.
Valencia was almost as bad in a 1-0 loss to Eibar in its previous game. Its recent run has all but ended its hopes of finishing in the top four, even as Sevilla – the team currently occupying the final Champions League place – has dropped points in each of its last four games.
Valencia is one of the biggest clubs in Spanish soccer, and it is certainly possible to argue that its supporters are too demanding at times. But those fans have had every right to be critical in recent weeks, and the situation could get worse before it gets better.
Athletic Has Overcome Its Blip and Become Harder to Beat
Things were looking bleak for Athletic following a 2-1 loss to Alaves at the end of February. That was the team’s fourth defeat on the bounce and its 10th match without a win in La Liga. In the world of Spanish soccer patience is a virtue for which few have any time, but Athletic’s board showed admirable patience with under-fire manager Gaizka Garitano – and it has subsequently been rewarded.
Barcelona is the only team to have beaten Athletic since that defeat by Alaves, and that was only by a slender 1-0 margin. Eleventh in the table in February, it is now only six points off fifth.
Valencia’s Confidence Is Fragile and That Will Play Into Athletic’s Hands
It is less than two weeks since Valencia won its last game, but the manner of its defeats by Eibar and Villarreal means confidence will be in short supply among Celades’s squad. Athletic, an aggressive and physical team, look well positioned to take full advantage of that.
Valencia is the only team outside La Liga’s top two to have avoided defeat at home so far in 2019/20. But all good things must come to an end, and Los Che’s showings in the last few days do not exactly inspire confidence that it will keep that run going for too much longer.
Back Athletic to emerge victorious from this game – Valencia is in wretched form and could be in for another difficult 90 minutes, this time on home turf.