If you delve into Valencia’s form this season, it appears that we may have all been overrating them.
When their name came out of the hat to face Celtic in the Europa League last-32, there were plenty nerves going. Many watched them take four points from Manchester United in the Champions League and that was enough.
But if you take a look into them in more detail, you’ll find that they’re struggling a tad these days.
The Mestalla outfit currently sit 12th in La Liga. They’ve just suffered back-to-back domestic defeats, and have just one win in their last five domestic matches. Their last two defeats came away to Alaves and Sporting Gijon respectively.
Granted, they could have a quick look at Celtic’s recent results and have a chuckle too. Defeats to Rangers, Hibernian, Kilmarnock, and Hearts this season don’t exactly read well. But it’s important not to lose sight of the fact Marcelino Garcia Toral’s side are vulnerable.
Away from home, Valencia have won just two of their last 10 matches. Defeats came in four of them, which could bode well for Celtic ahead of their visit to Celtic Park.
Must fancy Celtic to net against Valencia
If Celtic don’t score at Parkhead either, they should be disappointed. That’s because Toral’s mean have shipped goals in eight of their last nine matches in all competitions. Out of their 14 away matches, clean sheets have been kept in only five of them. They also haven’t scored more than one goal in any of 12 in their last 14 away games.
In addition to that, Michy Batshuayi has been sent back to Chelsea on loan after failing to make an impact at Valencia. Of course they still have the likes of Kevin Gamerio as his replacement, meaning Celtic need to be switched on.
Sure, this is a piece you can look up and highlight when Valencia go 2-0 up at Parkhead next month. That’s the beauty of it.
Celtic know the game is going to be highly competitive and a massively tough fixture. Valencia remain the favourites, and will fancy getting a first-leg advantage at Parkhead.
But it’s important to recognise that they most certainly aren’t anywhere near invincible either. They still have the likes of Celta Vigo, Villarreal, and Barcelona to come before they face the Hoops. That means there could be a few slip-ups in store for them yet.
It of course remains to be seen how Valencia recruit this month, but Celtic can look at their form and be confident in themselves.