Having largely exceeded expectations last season, Rayo Vallecano will attempt to do the same this term, even if they have been handed a tough draw at the start of the new La Liga campaign. And while Valencia are currently focused on the Champions League play-off against Monaco, they will also want to start the league championship with a win.
Good dealings in the transfer window
Rayo Vallecano was clearly one of the surprise packages last season, having not only escaped the relegation tussle altogether, but also finished the league campaign just outside the top half positions and mere two points behind eighth-place Celta Vigo. Having achieved such a success, the club were determined to give the team the best possible chance of repeating another such result and they in turn managed to recruit some very good players, despite operating on a tight budget. As a result, the likes of Patrick Ebert, Razvan Rat, Bebe, Juan Carlos, Luis Farina and Zhang Chengdong are all expected to improve the quality of the squad and it is only the question of high quickly they will be integrated into the ranks. Rayo did not do too bad in pre-season, especially in the closing stages, having recorded wins over Real Sociedad and Las Palmas, and they will definitely try and take advantage of the fact that this match comes at a very bad time for Valencia, seeing as the Monaco tie in the Champions League play-offs definitely has the priority.
New signings Luis Farina and Razvan Rat should be in contention, but Tito and Adri Embarba remain on the sidelines.
Hardly a perfect timing
Valencia experienced plenty of problems during the close season and the team do not appear fully prepared for the start of the new campaign. The club have yet to sign a replacement for key defender Nicolas Otamendi, who has joined Manchester City, while new players Matt Ryan, Santi Mina, Zakari Bakkali and Danilo Barbosa will need time to prove they can improve the squad from the previous season. As we have already mentioned, the all-important Champions League play-off vs Monaco has the priority at the moment, and the first leg proved that there is still plenty of work ahead seeing as Valencia were very fortunate to record a 3-1 triumph. Los Che were at times completely outplayed by the French side, who should have been awarded a penalty in the process, so some poor showings from pre-season appear to have left its mark on the team. With the Rayo Vallecano game sandwiched between two matches against Monaco, coach Nuno Espirito Santo will be tempted to rest some of his star players, but he doesn’t have such a big squad to choose from in the first place seeing as five first team regulars are out of the clash at Teresa Rivero.
Namely, Dani Parejo, Jose Gaya and Sofiane Feghouli are all banned, whilst Andre Gomes and Diego Alves are out injured.
While showing a great deal of potential last season, Rayo Vallecano managed to further strengthen their ranks in the summer and they look they can get at least one point from this match. Valencia, on the other hand, are far from the desired form, have one eye on the Monaco game and are without a total of five important players.
Top pick: Rayo Vallecano not to lose 1.80 (4/5) @ bet365
Alternative pick 1: Home win 4.00 (3/1) @ Betfred
Alternative pick 2: Both teams to score 1.67(2/3) @ SkyBet