Valencia v Las Palmas – Mestalla Stadium at 21:00 live on Sky Sports 1
Not since 1987/88 have Valencia finished a La Liga campaign as low as 12th but Los Che’s awful 2015/16 could have been even worse, with the Spanish giants languishing in 15th with just seven games to play.
Pako Ayestaran – Rafa Benitez’s former assistant – eventually guided the club to safety, adding stability and belief back into the youthful squad. But a turbulent year saw the 53-year-old as just one of four men to take charge of Valencia.
Nuno Espirito Santo started the season with an expectation to equal their previous fourth-placed finish but fractions between supporters and Los Che’s leadership grew, with Nuno eventually paying the price with his job.
Voro took over caretaker duties but Valencia soon appointed Gary Neville with fortunes dipping further during the Englishman’s unsuccessful stint in Spain. Ayestaran picked up the pieces thereafter but Los Che only managed to win 11 league games across their awful season.
Results at the Mestalla were also mixed. Having opened without defeat in 10 in front of their home supporters, Valencia then lost six of their final nine encounters as hosts.
With Andre Gomes moving on for big money this summer, plus constant speculation regarding the futures of Paco Alcacer and Shkodran Mustafi, fans of the Bats can be forgiven for their pessimism.
Last year Los Che were guilty of failing to convert their chances in a side that lacked creativity at times. Gomes’s departure won’t have helped in that regard but the club have moved to snap up Euro 2016 winner Nani. Nevertheless, further reinforcements are required if their young squad is avoid another campaign of mid-table mediocrity.
Tipped for immediate relegation, Las Palmas acquitted themselves well on their return to Spain’s top-flight after an absence of 14 years. The Canary Islanders finished 11th and six points clear of the drop zone thanks to a wondrous spell around March.
Quique Setein guided the club from rock-bottom when taking over eight games into the campaign but a run of seven wins in eight propelled the minnows into the top-half. All four of Las Palmas’ away-day successes (W4-D3-L12) came during this purple patch.
Setien has a settled squad and with one or two minor tweaks, the club can expect to enjoy another commendable campaign. It’s been a quiet window so far with free transfers and loans dominating arrivals and departures with young Uruguayan centre-back Mauricio Lemos the only incoming player to command a fee.
With Las Palmas far from convincing on the road and various doubts still surrounding Valencia, it’s difficult to find the faith to back either outfit on Monday night. A shrewder approach might be to back goals.
Valencia saw an even split between Over/Under 2.5 Goals last term but since the beginning of 2014/15, Los Che have delivered 22/38 (58%) winners in the Overs market at the Mestalla, including 10 last term.
Las Palmas also saw 10 away encounters produce three or more goals but interestingly, nine of those went on to feature four or more goals, making the 2.00 available on Over 2.5 Goals an attractive value selection.
Asian Handicap Betting Recommendation: Over 2.5 goals at 2.00
Prices correct at time of writing.
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