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At the start of the season Sevilla were only the fourth-favorites to win the La Liga title. Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid were all more fancied to finish on top of the pile. We have now passed the midway point of the campaign and Sevilla are behind only Madrid in both the table and the betting odds. They are currently available at +550 to win the league, but that price may well shorten if they beat Valencia in one of five-midweek fixtures in Spain.
Take a look at best odds for this game at Caesars Sportsbook, here!
Sevilla are currently five points adrift of top spot, but they have played one game fewer than Madrid. A few weeks ago it looked like Carlo Ancelotti’s side had one hand on the trophy. But Sevilla have dug in and are proving to be stubborn challenger. Their squad might not contain much title-winning experience, but that has not been an issue yet. Sevilla heads into Wednesday’s game on the back of a six-match unbeaten run. The title race is far from over.
Madrid are rightfully still heavy favorites to be crowned kings of Spain. This team has been there and done it on numerous occasions before. Their attack continues to dazzle, with 45 goals in 21 matches – comfortably the best record in the division. They are only likely to improve the closer we get to the end of the campaign. And they currently have the edge on Sevilla in the head-to-head stakes, having beaten them at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu at the end of November.
Even so, Lopetegui’s side increasingly look like the real deal. Lesser teams might have folded after that defeat by Madrid. Sevilla took 16 points from the next 18 available, despite having to face Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Villarreal and Athletic Bilbao in that time. No team in the league has conceded fewer than their 13 goals. For now at least, Sevilla are still fighting.
After the first five games of the season, Valencia sat third in the La Liga standings. They lost only one of those matches, a narrow 2-1 home defeat by Real Madrid. It was early days and no one at Mestalla was getting carried away, but at that point it looked as though Valencia were ready to compete for the European places.
They still might be, but there is work to do if los Che are to close the six-point gap separating them from sixth-placed Barcelona. Valencia have been a streaky side all season. They are prone to both winning and winless runs. After four unbeaten matches at the beginning of the campaign, Valencia did not triumph in any of their next seven outings. They then went seven games without defeat, before back-to-back losses to Espanyol and Real Madrid either side of the new year.
Valencia need to be more consistent if they are to trouble the top six. They also need to tighten up at the back. Only four teams in La Liga have scored more goals than Jose Bordalas’ men, but a failure to shut opponents out is proving costly. Only Cadiz and Levante have had their backlines breached more often than Valencia, who have shipped 32 goals and gone six games without a clean sheet.
That is something of a surprise, as Bordalas’ Getafe side tended to be renowned for its solid defense. The 57-year-old only took charge at Mestalla last summer and there have been positives to take from his tenure to date, but he must make his current team harder to score against.
Sevilla have made a habit of grinding out wins. Only one of their 13 victories this season was by more than a two-goal margin – and that was back on the opening weekend when Rayo Vallecano were beaten 3-0. Seven of their wins have been by a single goal, including each of their last five.
Backing Sevilla to win by a single goal in the handicap market is tempting. But odds of +125 on a straightforward away win are too good to ignore. Were this Atletico Madrid or Barcelona going to Mestalla, the price would probably be shorter. Sevilla have been better than those two sides this season, and it is only because of the size of the club that they are not more fancied in this clash.
Sevilla’s title tilt might eventually run out of steam. They cannot match Madrid for strength or depth or trophy-winning experience. Ancelotti has been around the block in a way that Lopetegui, for all his acumen, has not. But Sevilla should not be written off yet, and a win on Wednesday would give Madrid something to think about. Back the visitors to Mestalla to get the job done.
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|Valencia vs Sevilla Information|
|Teams||Valencia vs Sevilla|
|Location||Estadio de Mestalla, Valencia, Spain|
|Time||Wednesday, 19 January 2022, 15.30 PM EST|
|How to watch||ESPN|
Greg Lea is a freelance soccer journalist from London. He is the former editor of The Set Pieces, and has contributed to the Guardian, FourFourTwo, and ESPN. A Crystal Palace fan, he is a long-time subscriber to the belief that it's the taking part that counts. Email: [email protected]More info on Greg Lea
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