12:00 BST, Saturday 28th October, Mendizorrotza Stadium (Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain)
Valencia head into the tenth round of fixtures without loss and on the back of a run of six straight wins, including an eye-catching 4-0 against a strong Sevilla side. Early season draws against both Madrid teams are now being backed up by some wonderful free-scoring performances, scoring 23 goals in only their last 6 games.
In contrast, Alavez look a shadow of the outfit led by Mauricio Pellegrino to a 9th place season in what was their first season in the top flight since 2005/06. A 2-0 away victory against Levante remains the only positive point of their season so far. Alvarez will hope that a recent away win the cup against Getafe will provide them with some fresh optimism.
Last Time Out
Real Betis 2-0 Alaves (La Liga)
An early header from Antonio Sanbabria set the tone for yet another game which Alavez were never really in. Alexis Ruano’s own goal compounded the misery for the Basques as they allowed Betis open access to their final third and simply could not hold on the ball.
Alavez are now four points adrift of safety and again showed little to suggest that they will be anything other than relegation candidates this season.
Valencia 4-0 Sevilla (La Liga)
In what was surely the most impressive of a series of exceptional attacking performances, Valencia were too much for a flat-footed Sevilla.
Two goals and an assist from the excellent Goncalo Guedes and yet another goal from Simone Zaza led to an ultimately comfortable result. Valencia are beginning to look like real top four contenders.
Centre back Victor Laguardia remains side-lined until at least December. The malleolar injury suffered by wing back Hector Hernandez should also keep him out of the line up.
Midfield lynchpin Dani Parejo will miss out through suspension.
Key Battle: Alfonso Pedraza (Alaves) vs Goncalo Guedes (Valencia)
With an attack including the likes of Bojan and Barcelona loanee Munir, the paltry three goals scored by Alavez so far this season is their greatest failing. A less marketable player, Alfonso Pedraza, 21, has showed signs of being the more likely solution to their attacking problems. He has performed consistently well in spite of the poor performances around him and was brilliant in the solitary league victory over Levante.
Goncalo Guedes was almost unplayable against Sevilla, his first goal being a thing of true beauty. The 20-year-old on loan from PSG is starting to look as though his future may well lie in Paris in spite of the wealth of attacking talent that they possess. Against a defence with the record of Alavez, he should find opportunities galore.
How long can Valencia keep this up?
In stark contrast to last season, the Mestalla is currently the best place to go if you want to witness vibrant attacking football. The 2-2 draw against Real Madrid at the beginning of the season suggested that Valencia have a real opportunity to play European football next season. The challenge in Spain is to ensure that teams lower down in the table are consistently despatched. Keeping pace with the top of the table means losing this kind of game is not an option.
When will Alavez start to click?
Alavez need to start scoring soon. 3 goals in 9 games is simply not enough for a side who possess genuine attacking talent. Some stability in formation selection could be key. Not having tried the same formation on any more than two occasions this season has certainly not helped the fluidity in attack.
Prediction: Alavez 1-3 Valencia
Valencia are looking nigh on impossible to defend against at the moment and will prove to much for the Alavez defence. There is, however, enough ability in the side for the home team to score, which on current form could provide an important platform going forward.
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