Sevilla will cut Real Madrid’s lead at the top of the table to just two points if they can pick up an away win against Valencia this week. Can Los Rojiblancos pull it off?
Valencia vs. Sevilla
Wednesday, January 19, 2022 – 03:30 PM EST at Mestalla
Sevilla has emerged as the only credible challenger to Real Madrid this season after securing five wins and a draw from its last six La Liga games.
The team’s strong run began with a 1-0 win against Villarreal on December 4. Sevilla followed it up by grinding out an impressive 1-0 victory over Athletic Club.
Julen Lopetegui’s men then battled to a terrific 2-1 win against Atlético Madrid, courtesy of a last-gasp goal from Lucas Ocampos. They returned from the winter break with a 1-0 win against Cádiz, before beating Getafe 1-0 on January 9.
It leaves them second in the table, 10 points clear of third placed Real Betis. Sevilla has 13 wins, five draws and just two defeats from 20 games so far this season.
It has the best defensive record in the division, with just 13 goals conceded in 20 games, and 11 clean sheets.
Sevilla lost 2-1 to Real Betis in Copa del Rey on Sunday, but Lopetegui rested some players for that game. The team should be back to full strength for this match as it bids to chase Real Madrid down.
Lopetegui had a brief spell as Real Madrid boss before taking the Sevilla job, and he could now be the man to prevent Los Blancos from seizing the title.
Valencia Struggles for Form
Valencia has slipped down to 10th in the table after losing its last two games. It suffered a 2-1 home defeat to Espanyol on December 31. Valencia was 1-0 up in that game, but Hugo Duro was sent off on 82 minutes, Raul de Tomas slotted in the resulting penalty and then Javi Puado grabbed a late winner.
It then lost 4-1 to Real Madrid on January 8. Valencia was totally overwhelmed in that game, and it could not deal with Los Blancos’ pace and movement in attack. It now has the third worst defensive record in La Liga, with 32 goals conceded in 20 games.
Valencia is 11 points clear of the relegation zone, but it is only five points behind fourth-placed Atlético Madrid, so it could get back into the battle for European places if its form improves.
Jules Koundé returned for Sevilla when he came off the bench against Real Betis at the weekend, and he could be ready to start alongside Diego Carlos in the heart of the defense for this game.
Joan Jordan and Erik Lamela are out, but Suso and Jesus Navas could return. Mexican forward Jesus Corona could make his first start for Sevilla after arriving from Porto.
Valencia has been dealing with a Covid-19 outbreak that struck down four first-team players: midfielders Daniel Wass and Helder Costa, and forwards Maxi Gomez and Denis Chershev. Carlos Sloer and Gabriel Paulista are out injured.
Some of the players with Covid may be ready to return, but nothing has been confirmed yet.
It will not be easy for Sevilla, but it has won its last five games against Valencia, and it should extend that streak to six on Wednesday.
EPL Pick: Sevilla to win (+140) at FanDuel
EPL Pick: Sevilla draw no bet (-150) at Caesars
EPL Pick: Jesus Corona to score (+500) at DraftKings