Preview: Valencia vs. Real Valladolid 

Preview: Valencia vs. Real Valladolid 

Valencia and Real Valladolid will look to strengthen their respective survival bids when they lock horns in a relegation six-pointer at the Mestalla on Thursday evening.

Despite claiming a vital victory over Elche on Sunday, Valencia remain in the La Liga drop zone on goal difference, while 14th-placed Valladolid sit five points clear of the bottom three.

Valencia ended a four-game winless run with a 2-0 victory at Elche last time out, despite seeing just 34% of the ball at the home of the basement dwellers, who find themselves 15 points adrift at the foot of the La Liga table.

Although Valencia sit 17 points clear of Elche, Ruben Baraja’s side remain in the bottom three with eight games remaining, having managed to win just eight of their 30 league outings this season.

Baraja took up the Mestalla hot seat in February following the sacking of Gennaro Gattuso, but the new manager has failed to steady the ship up to now, overseeing three wins, one draw and five losses since arriving at the club.

When you look at the bigger picture, Valencia have lost 11 of their last 16 La Liga matches, taking 11 points from a possible 48 to keep them in the relegation dogfight.

Los Che can take confidence from the fact that they boast the best defensive record in the bottom half, having conceded 36 goals in 30 games, but they must pick up points on a consistent basis if they want to avoid the drop.

Unlike Valencia, Real Valladolid appear to have benefitted from a recent managerial change, although they still find themselves in danger of relegation.

Pacheta was sacked earlier this month following a run of one victory in seven matches, with Paulo Pezzolano coming in as his successor, and the new boss has instigated a marked upturn in form to lift the club up the standings.

After overseeing a thrilling 3-3 draw with Mallorca in his first game in charge, Pezzolano led Valladolid to an impressive 2-1 victory at Villarreal before inspiring a 1-0 win against Girona last weekend.

Although Pezzolano has enjoyed a strong start to life at Valladolid – taking seven points from a possible nine – the 39-year-old Uruguayan must improve the team’s away record, as the White and Violets have lost 10 of their 15 away league games this term.

The new manager will also need to improve the team’s attacking output, as Valladolid are the third-lowest scorers in the division, having netted just 26 goals in 30 matches.

Valencia La Liga form:

Real Valladolid La Liga form:

We say: Valencia 0-0 Real Valladolid
Given that Real Valladolid have the third-worst offensive record in La Liga – and Valencia have the best defensive record in the bottom half – we expect the relegation rivals to play out a cagey stalemate at the Mestalla.

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