Atheltic Club vs Valencia
|Date & Time||Thursday March 17, 2016, 1:00 PM (EDT)|
The Line: Valencia 9/5 Draw 12/5 Athletic Club 17/10
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An all Spanish last sixteen tie in the Europa League will see Atheltic Club travel to the Mestalla to take on Valencia. This is another one of the Europa League ties that is finely balanced with Athletic Club getting the 1-0 win in the first leg. Atheltic Club have alot of quality throughout their squad with Aduriz the lead striker having seventeen goals already this season, the experienced center forward is having a career year and is having great success playing alongside youngsters laporte and inaki williams. Atheltic Club consistantly perform well in the Europa League and are up to sixth in La Liga with the club putting five wins in a row together at the moment and are looking to finish the season strong. With just six points between Athletic Club and a spot in the Champions League it is not inconceivable that Atheltic Club make a push in La Liga as well as finishing strong in the Europa League where they will be among the favourites if they can negotiate this tricky fixture.
With Gary Neville's Valencia really struggling at the moment to get some points on the board it looks like the Englishman's time in charge will finish in the summer as expected. Valencia had put together a run of four wins in a row and looked likely to push their way up the La Liga table but four losses in their last five has stopped that progress. Valencia though have been a little unlucky of late and two of their last three losses were quite unlucky, they had a player sent off in the loss to Atletico Madrid and suffered a 1-0 loss to Levante in a game they had chances but failed to capitalise on. In the reverse fixture against Atheltic Club though Valencia were well and truly outplayed, out fought and out thought. Can Neville turn to Alcacer, Feghouli, Piatti to turn this fixture around?
This one looks a really tough one to call in terms of result. But at the moment there is only one team in form and that is Athletic Club. With five wins on the bounce they travel to the Mestalla in confident mood and I think that they are going to fancy their chances of progressing here. I am certain that Athletic club will set up defensively though and I am not sure Valencia are going to be able to break them down. Valencia have struggled scoring in just two of their last five matches. I think this is going to be a very tactical game and I expect both teams to be timid from the off. Going to take the draw at half time in this one as a play that appeals to me with lots of value.