Tonight’s all Spanish Europa League quarter final fixture between 3rd place Valencia and 10th place Atletico Madrid should be an entertaining fixture considering the fact that both these teams are way off the pace in the La Liga title race.
Coming off yet another bad result over the weekend, Valencia will want to erase the memories of the 3-0 drubbing they received at the hands of Real Zaragoza. This is the second time in as many weeks that the club have lost 3-0 the first coming at the hands of Barcelona.
Atletico have not had a good run in the league either albeit they have reached the final of the Copa Del Rey. They now have to win either of these two titles to come the nerves of their fans. It gets even harder for the Madrid outfit as they try to secure that final Champions League spot.
Valencia’s forward Juan Mata has however warned fans to expect a barrage of goals at the Etsadio Mestalla. “It will be a game with a lot of goals, similar to the match against Werder Bremen,” said Mata on the club’s website. “They are two teams with similar characteristics, and there is the potential for a heavy scoreline over the two legs.”
I do not fully agree with that statement at least for this tie. Los Che have a long injury list that includes David Albelda, Miguel and Jeremy Mathieu not to mention the suspension of Ever Banega and the ineligibility of Alejandro Dominguez. David Villa, David Navarro and Carlos Marchena are all doubts for this tie.
Atletico will miss the services of Jose Antonio Reyes. Reyes scored one of his teams goals during Saturday’s 3-2 loss to city Real Madrid and his runs on the flanks will definitely be missed. Add Tiago, Juan Valera and the ineligible Ibrahima Balde to that list and the match becomes a very open fixture. My prediction for this match is a 1-1 draw.
Photo Credit: buJenin