Match Preview / Valencia v Real Sociedad
Matchday 38 – Valencia v Real Sociedad – Match Preview
Friday 13th May 2016
By Paul Murray
Valencia host Real Sociedad at the Mestalla Stadium on Friday night, in a match that both teams need to win to secure a top half finish in La Liga. The season has been disappointing for these teams, with both underachieving. Both teams have dispensed with the services of a British coach (Gary Neville at Valencia and David Moyes at Real) during the season.
The 3-2 defeat against Real Madrid last weekend saw Valencia drop down from 9th to 11th position in the league standings. They have suffered back-to-back defeats and are without a win in the last three league fixtures, with a draw and two defeats. Prior to their recent run they were on a three match winning streak beating Sevilla, Barcelona and Eibar during that period.
Valencia have won only 6 of their 18 home games this season, drawing 7 and losing 5. They have scored 25 goals, conceded 22 and have only kept 5 clean sheets.
However, Valencia’s form has improved considerably since Pako Ayestaran was appointed as the team’s new coach at the end of March, and he will endeavour to motivate his team in this final game of the season in an effort to be appointed Head Coach for 2016/7. Valencia may well have their eyes on a big name Head Coach for next season with Jose Mourinho being mentioned. I doubt that his arrival at the Mestalla is a realistic proposition, but in any event it is questionable if Ayestaran will still be there in August.
Real Sociedad ended their 4 match run without a win on Sunday with a 2-1 home victory over Rayo Vallecano. Their recent away form is poor, they have registered just one win in their last five, with 3 defeats and a draw in the other fixtures.
Since January 2012 Real have had a great run against Valencia. They have lost just once in the last 9 league meetings. The defeat came in the corresponding fixture last season at Mestalla when the home team ran out 2-0 winners. Real Sociedad have won 7 of the most recent 9 fixtures, with one match ending in a draw. The reverse fixture of this season’s league clash ended in a 2-0 win for Real Sociedad.
Eusebio has selected the following squad:
Rulli, Olazabal, Elustondo, Odriozola, Mikel, Diego Reyes, De la Bella, Yuri, Illarra, Markel, Pardo, Zubeldia, Xabi Prieto, Zurutuza, Bruma, Oyarzabal, Jonathas and Bautista.
I hope Zubeldia gets an opportunity to play and Bautista is selected to start.
Carlos Vela has not been selected to travel as he supposedly has an injured knee. However it is known that Eusebio is less than impressed with his attitude following his behaviour on Sunday.
After being substituted at half time Vela got changed and left the stadium immediately. He did not bother to watch the rest of the game and support his team mates. That form of petulant behaviour is completely unacceptable.
I predict the match last Sunday is likely to mark his final appearance for La Real. It is a sorry end to what was a fantastic spell at the club. The Mexican’s attitude has been poor all season and I think he sets the wrong example to the younger players who are increasingly important to our club. They need to work with good professional role models, not senior players sulking when things don’t go their way.
Other news indicates that both Liverpool and Manchester City are interested in signing Gero Rulli who’s contract expires at the end of the season. It looks very difficult for Real to retain Rulli and sign him on a permanent basis, as his value is likely to exceed anything we can afford.
According to El Diario Vasco, Juanmi is on his way out of the Southampton after apparently agreeing terms with Real Sociedad. The striker has been in talks with Real for several weeks and he has finally accepted their offer. Real are now negotiating a fee for Juanmi and have offered £1.5 million, but Southampton are likely to want nearly double that.
Bookmakers Bet 365 offer the following odds for this match:
Valencia to win 8/11, Draw 3/1 and Real Sociedad to win 7/2.