Having shown a great deal of improvement of late, Levante will be eager to extend the good run against local rivals Valencia, a team that have been in scintillating form this season. Los Che go into the game hoping to make amends for the goalless draw with Athletic Bilbao and further cement their place in La Liga top 4.
Lucas Alcaraz brings improvement
Levante went from relegation strugglers to Europa League hopefuls and back in the space of just several years and they are again fighting for their lives in La Liga. Les Granotes have seen quite a few important players leave over the last few transfer windows, while failing to sign proper replacements, so nobody is really surprised to see them languishing in the relegation zone. Club chiefs opted to sack Jose Luis Mendilibar following the dismal start to the season and while new boss Lucas Alcaraz was powerless to prevent a 3-0 defeat to Celta Vigo, he has quickly helped Levante get back to the right track. Les Granotes were somewhat fortunate to beat Almeria at home, but they then produced a very good performance to hold Sevilla to a 1-1 draw at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan. But, even though the spirits are high after two very good results, Levante could find it hard to match high-flying Valencia, as they simply lack the quality needed to get something from the derby clash.
Tono Garcia, Hector Rodas and Pedro Lopez have all resumed full training and they should be in contention for the Valencia game.
Bright start to the season
There has been plenty of reason for optimism at Mestalla this season, with the arrival of wealthy businessman Peter Lim transforming one of Spain’s most famous sides. New coach Nuno Espirito Santo has done brilliantly to rebuild the squad on the summer and Valencia have played some great football this term. Los Che have climbed to third in the league standings, having won seven of first eleven league games, and they appear to be one of the favourites for a top 4 finish. Valencia have shown a great deal of consistency so far, suffering only two setbacks up to date, with the goalless draw against last year’s high-flyers Athletic Bilbao one of those. And with los Che hosting mighty Barcelona at Mestalla next weekend, they will want to return to winning ways as quickly as possible, with local derby against Levante looking like a perfect opportunity. Star striker Paco Alcacer may be missing, but Valencia have more than enough quality players to replace the Spain starlet. Having already defeated Villarreal and Getafe on the road, los Che look a good bet to see off their neighbours at Estadio Ciudad de Valencia.
With Paco Alcacer out injured, summer signing Alvaro Negredo is tipped to start, while Dani Parejo has resumed training and count be in contention.
Levante have been raising their form of late, but I just cannot see them stopping in-form Valencia in their tracks. Los Che have been playing at a very high level this season and they should have enough in them to see past their local rivals.
Top pick: Away win 1.70 (7/10) @ SkyBet
Alternative pick 1: Over 2.5 goals 2.10 (11/10) @ BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Valencia/Valencia 2.60 (8/5) @ Betfred