16 February 2019
Valencia welcome a vulnerable Espanyol team to the Estadio de Mestalla in what is going to be a must-win clash for the Bats if they look to keep up the pace with sixth-placed Deportivo Alaves.
Although the hosts suffered just four defeats after the opening 23 LL fixtures, the fact that they’ve played out 13 draws (more than any other Spanish team) is the main reason they currently sit four points adrift of the European promotion zone. The Bats come into this meeting carrying a two-game LL winless run (D2) on their backs, which has seen them extending their unbeaten league streak to five games (W2, D3). Furthermore, Valencia’s last home defeat dates back to early November, after which Marcelino Garcia Toral’s players racked up an 11-game unbeaten run across all competitions (W8, D3). The Oranges’ main strength is their stubborn defense that has managed three clean sheets in Valencia’s previous four competitive clashes while restricting their rivals to a maximum of one goal per match in all 12 of their LL home outings this campaign.
On the other hand, the struggling visitors have finally managed to avoid loss in two consecutive LL meetings (W1, D1) after suffering nine defeats in ten league games. Espanyol’s disastrous run of form that started in November has seen them sliding down from the European promotion zone to just five points clear of the relegation territory. Far more comfortable at home, the Periquitos have secured barely one triumph in 12 LL away clashes (W1, D4, L7), which is by far the worst road record in the Spanish top flight at the time being. What’s more, Rubi’s players have lost five of their previous seven LL away encounters (D2, L5), failing to keep a clean sheet in every game in that period. During the same sequence, the Blanquiazules have conceded 2+ match goals on six occasions, while scoring one goal or less five times in the process.
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