Valencia kick off their La Liga campaign by welcoming Real Sociedad to the Estadio de Mestalla on Saturday.
Marcelino’s side finished 4th last season, thereby securing a UEFA Champions League spot to cap off a memorable season. They made the season sweeter by defeating La Liga champions Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final to win the domestic cup for the 8th time in their history.
Now, Los Ches will have to balance their European campaign with the league and a good start on the domestic front will leave them in good stead for the long season ahead. The home side had a decent summer, swapping their goalkeeper Neto with Barcelona’s Jasper Cillessen.Embed from Getty Images
Further, they signed Celta Vigo’s Maxi Gomez and Villarreal’s Denis Cheryshev to bolster the attack after losing Simone Zaza to Torino. Finally, they added another center-back in Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala to replace the departing Ruben Vezo.
Thus, Valencia are set for a good season and will look to take all 3 points in the first match of the season.
Coming to their opponents, Real Sociedad finished 9th in the La Liga last season, out of the European places. Getting back into the continental competitions will definitely be the primary aim for Imanol Alguacil’s side and they will be ready for a tough opening game against Champions League opposition.
Txuri-urdinak lost Juanmi to Real Betis but did well in the transfer market to sign the talented Alexander Isak from Borussia Dortmund and loan Martin Odegaard, who excelled at Dutch side Vitesse last season, from Real Madrid.Embed from Getty Images
Thus, the Basque club will look to better last season’s league finish, starting with the first game of the season.
In terms of team news, Mouctar Diakhaby is a doubt for Los Ches with a leg injury. Further, Marcelino will be without Daniel Parejo and Gaya for the game due to suspension.
On the other hand, Sociedad have multiple injury doubts with Asier Illarramendi and Willian Jose doubts for the match. Further, Alguacil will miss the services of Aritz Elustondo and Diego Llorente who are suspended for the game.
Head-To-Head and Valencia vs Real Sociedad Betting TipsEmbed from Getty Images
In terms of head-to-head, the visitors have picked up just one win in their last 5 meetings with Valencia. The latter have won 3 of those games while there was one stalemate.
However, in the last 18 clashes, Los Ches have won just 6 compared to their visitors’ 10 while the remaining 2 ended in draws.
Considering pre-season form, Valencia won 3, lost 2 and drew 1 while their opponents picked up just one win during the summer.
Thus, Valencia are favorites to pick up a win and kick-start their La Liga campaign with a bang.
Predicted Valencia XI: Domenech; Wass, Garay, Gabriel, Ruiz ; Kondogbia, Coquelin; Soler, Guedes; Gameiro, Rodrigo
Predicted Real Sociedad XI: Remiro; Zaldua, Navas, Zubeldia, Rodrigues; Zurutuza, Zubimendi, R. López; Odegaard, Isak, Willian J.