Las Palmas v Valencia – Estadio Gran Canaria at 19:45 live on Sky Sports 1
Results don’t always tell the full story in football and the league table does lie – that’s two myths that require dispelling before approaching Monday night’s match from La Liga.
Las Palmas are sitting happily in mid-table in their second season back in the Spanish top-flight since 2002/03 and from the outset, the Islanders are enjoying life. However, leer in through the back window and we’ll see all probably isn’t well in the Canaries’ camp.
Last week head coach Quique Setien was forced to admit that he’s probably allowed his players get away with too much for too long at a time in which Sergio Araujo failed another breathalyser test and fellow first-teamer Jonathan Vieira was disciplined by the club.
Setien – Las Palmas’ architect for turning a budding and heavily locally-sourced squad from relegation candidates into thrilling outside shots for European competition over the past 12 months – said he regretted his role in giving the group an easier ride, suggesting a tighter leash was now required.
The Canaries began their campaign in superb style, racing towards the top of the La Liga table but gradually performances have dropped off and Monday night’s hosts have bagged only three league triumphs since mid-September (W3-D7-L5).
Of course, at their Estadio de Gran Canaria home, Las Palmas are unbeaten in 2016/17 (W5-D5-L0) but three of those triumphs were narrow 1-0 successes against the likes of Sporting Gijon, Malaga and Eibar with Leganes and Deportivo both departing in the past month with a point.
It’s true, Setien’s side are unbeaten on home turf since March when Real Madrid rolled into town and whilst the Canaries have held the league leaders on the island already this season, September feels like a world away now.
With the Las Palmas squad unfocussed and survival probably already assured, there’s a slice of vulnerability about the club. The hosts have only scored more than a solitary strike once in their last five in front of their home supporters and will be forced to rush back centre-half Pedro Bigas here with Aythami Artiles banned and David Garcia sidelined.
Valencia turning the corner?
Visitors Valencia have endured a torrid time of it over the past 18 months but impressive back-to-back victories over Villarreal and Espanyol under Voro have eased relegation fears with the club now sitting six points clear of the drop zone.
Los Che shutout Villarreal last weekend – their first clean sheets in 23 outings since April – and have suffered a sole reverse in five La Liga fixtures. With confidence returning to the defensive ranks and a proven ability at scoring goals, the guests shouldn’t be ruled out from making it three wins on the spin here.
Valencia have struck at least two goals in each of their last five games and although Rodrigo Moreno is out, Voro isn’t expected to change his attacking trio with Munir and Santi Mina continuing alongside Nani in the front-three.
The visitors W3-D2-L5 road record leaves little to be desired but all five losses came at top-half clubs and not one came by a margin of two goals or more. Valencia have the ability to avoid defeat here and that makes them decent Asian Handicap betting value off a scratch 0 start at 2.03.
Asian Handicap Recommedation: Valencia +/- 0 at 2.03
Prices correct at time of writing.