La Liga returns this weekend, and at 6pm on Saturday evening Valencia welcome Real Sociedad to Estadio Mestalla as both sides look to open their league accounts in the best way possible. Last season, the pair played out a scoreless draw in this fixture, however Valencia were victors upon their visit to the Estadio Municipal de Anoeta in September.
Valencia’s pre-season came to a close with a mixed bag of results, having won twice, and lost twice, albeit one of those defeats was via penalties.Towards the end of July they met Sporting CP and were beaten by two goals to one, followed by a surprise loss at the hands of English outfit Brighton, again the score-line reading 2-1. A matchup with Bayer Leverkusen saw Kevin Gameiro bag a brace to send his team to victory, although a penalty shoot-out defeat versus Inter Milan was a rather disappointing way to end their pre-season preparations for the new campaign.
Real Sociedad have been in a real pattern as of late, winning a game followed by a loss since the end of last month. Initially they beat fellow Spanish side Deportivo Alaves by a solitary goal from Kevin Rodrigues, but being on the wrong end of a 2-1 result against Watford was particularly hard to take. Sociedad bounced back only six days later as they took on Osasuna and strikes from Mikel Oyarzabal and Cristian Portu were all they needed to get a solid win. Last time out, Eibar put Sociedad to the sword as Alexander Isak’s opener wasn’t enough to stop Paulo Oliveira and Pablo De Blasis from notching afterwards.
Jose Gaya and Dani Parejo were supposed to miss this game due to an accumulation of yellow cards picked up last season, however the President of the Spanish Football Federation had made the decision to pardon the players, and should the Supreme Sports Council allow this to stand, the pair will be in Saturday’s squad. Mouctar Diakhaby is a doubt due to a leg injury and he will be assessed ahead of the affair. New signing, Eliaquim Mangala, who joined on a free transfer from Manchester City will be hoping to make his debut in this one after struggling to nail down a position in Guardiola’s side.
Diego Llorente and Aritz Elustondo were also expected to miss this game due to suspension after last campaign’s yellow card accumulation, however it now appears as though Llorente could feature if the decision to ban them is overturned before the day of the match. Elustondo may not get any minutes here even if the ban is cancelled, as he recovers from a thigh problem. In terms of other injuries, Ander Barrenetxea is unlikely to play any part with a hamstring issue, and Asier Illaramendi and Willian Jose each have thigh injuries. Norwegian starlet Martin Odegaard will be looking to make this his breakthrough season he arrived from Real Madrid on loan.
Recently, this is a match that hasn’t seen too many goals flying into the back of the net, with just one bagged during 2018/2019. We can see similar happening here as the players are still getting up to full fitness and results have been inconsistent over the summer. For this reason, we’re opting for under 1.5 goals @ 3.25 as our first tip. Valencia have more fit players right now with quite a number of Sociedad’s important names missing or doubtful through injury problems, and with home advantage this one should see the hosts pick up maximum points, particularly with the attacking threat of Gameiro and Maxi Gomez. @ 2.63, our second tip is Valencia to win and BTTS “No”.