Valencia will look to get back on track in Spain’s top flight as they host bottom-placed Almeria at Mestalla on Saturday afternoon.
Valencia recently suffered a 2-0 defeat against Atletico Madrid, while Almeria, who are yet to win a league game this season, lost 3-0 to Alaves in their last match at this level.
Valencia came into their La Liga game against Atletico last weekend on the back of four consecutive wins against Rayo Vallecano, Villarreal, Cadiz, and Athletic Bilbao. However, they were unable to continue their excellent run and lost 2-0 to Diego Simeone’s side at Wanda Metropolitano.
Despite the loss, Valencia still have a solid position in the La Liga table, sitting eighth with 32 points from 22 matches, just four points behind sixth-placed Real Sociedad.
Ruben Baraja’s team has collected 20 points from their 10 home league games this season and have their sights set on a European spot in Spain’s top flight.
Valencia finished 16th in La Liga last season, their joint-worst final position since being relegated in 1985-86. Their last fourth-place finish was in 2018-19, and while they won’t achieve that this season, a return to Europe for the 2024-25 campaign would be considered a highly successful season for their young squad.
On the other hand, Almeria will come into the game after a 3-0 home defeat to Alaves, leaving them at the bottom of the table with just six points from 22 matches this season.
Almeria is still waiting for their first league victory of the season and are currently 11 points away from safety in 17th position, which is a cause for concern given their points total after 22 games.
This season, Almeria has the worst defensive record in Spain’s top flight, conceding 49 goals, including six in their last two matches. However, they came close to a positive result against Real Madrid in their last away game, leading 2-0 at the Bernabeu before succumbing to a last-minute 3-2 loss.
Gaizka Garitano’s side will need an extraordinary run to escape the relegation zone, but they face some tough games ahead, including matches against Athletic Bilbao and Atletico Madrid in their next three games after this one.
Almeria has actually remained undefeated in their last three La Liga games against Valencia, including a 2-2 draw earlier this season. However, they have not won at Mestalla in Spain’s top flight since October 2013.
Valencia La Liga form:
D W W W W L
Valencia form (all competitions):
W W W L W L
Almeria La Liga form:
D L L D L L
Valencia have brought in attacker Peter on loan from Real Madrid, and there is a chance that the 21-year-old could be included in the squad for this weekend’s match against the league’s bottom side.
However, Gabriel Paulista has left the club, terminating his contract at Mestalla to join Atletico Madrid. This leaves Valencia with a shortage of first-team defenders. Additionally, Sergi Canos and Andre Almeida are sidelined with injuries.
Mouctar Diakhaby is also unavailable due to his involvement with Guinea at the Africa Cup of Nations, so Cenk Ozkacar is expected to feature in central defense.
As for Almeria, Anthony Lozano has joined the club on loan from Getafe, and he could be in the squad for this match. Luka Romero has also arrived on loan from AC Milan, while Aleksandar Radovanovic has joined on a free transfer. Both players are expected to be part of the squad on Saturday.
Luis Suarez is still unavailable, and Ibrahima Kone is a major doubt. However, Largie Ramazani will be back in the squad after serving a suspension in the previous home loss to Alaves.
Sergio Akieme has left Almeria, moving to French club Reims, so there will be a change in the defense for this contest.
Valencia possible starting lineup:
Foulquier, Mosquera, Ozkacar, Gaya;
Perez, Guerra, D Lopez;
Almeria possible starting lineup:
Pubill, Montes, Chumi, Centelles;
Lopy, E Gonzalez;
Arribas, Robertone, Baptistao;
Prediction: Valencia 1-0 Almeria
Almeria’s winless run in La Liga will come to an end at some point, and they have shown they can trouble the top teams in the division, as seen against Real Madrid.
However, Valencia will be determined to get back to winning ways on Saturday, and we expect them to secure a 1-0 victory.