Valencia will look to keep their top four hopes alive when they host Alaves at the Mestalla on Sunday.
Thursday was a setback for Valencia, as they hosted Arsenal in the second leg of their Europa League semi-final. Arsenal led 3-1 from the first leg, but Valencia started the game firmly aiming for a comeback. Kevin Gameiro gave them the lead early on, and Arsenal were looking ragged. But the London side regained their composure and went on to score 4-2, which made the aggregate scoreline 7-3 in their favor. Valencia were knocked out of Europea, but now they will focus on getting there again next season.
With two games to go, they are in 5th place right now. Getafe are three points above them in fourth, and finishing there will yield Champions League football for next season. Sevilla are in the race as well, and they are level on points with Valencia. With two favorable fixtures to come, Valencia will be hopeful of overtaking Getafe in the final weeks. Getafe will travel to face Barcelona this week, and Valencia will be watching that game eagerly.
Valencia have won three out of their last five league games. They claimed an emphatic 6-2 win against Huesca previous week. Rodrigo Moreno and Santi Mina both netted braces in that game. Despite that, Mina should return to the bench to give way to Gameiro in the lineup. Aside from their league ambitions, Valencia also have a cup final to look forward to. They will face Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final in the last week of May.
Alaves are in 10th place, which is surprising considering the way they started the season. They were in second place at a time, but a poor run of results has seen them drop in the table. All is not over though. Alaves can still play European football next season. If Barcelona win the Copa del Rey final against Valencia, the team in seventh place will play the Europa League qualifiers next season. As it stands, Alaves are just three points behind Athletic Bilbao who are in seventh place.
But Alaves’ recent form is far from encouraging. They are winless in their last eight league encounters. In that run, they have suffered five losses. This run has severely dented their chances of European football next season. Last week Real Sociedad defeated them 1-0. Alaves have scored just one goal in their previous three games, conceding four in that time. Their last win came in the third week of March. Coach Abelardo will be keen to get back to winning ways.
Valencia vs Alaves Prediction
Valencia will be the heavy favorites going into this game despite their midweek loss. They have been good at the Mestalla, and Alaves are severely out of form. The total goals should be more than 2.5 in this game. Alaves won 2-1 in the reverse fixture, but a similar result is highly unlikely this time.