Last time out, Valencia finished a streak of eight La Liga matches without a victory, and Javi Gracia will now look to win it consecutively when they host Osasuna on Thursday at 6 pm (UK time).
Los Che was significantly below this term, gaining just 19 points from their opening 18 games (their worst return since 2016/17), but a 1-0 victory over Real Valladolid earlier this month created some momentum going into this crunch clash with Osasuna, threatened by relegation.
At Mestalla, the chaos off the pitch has been well reported and has taken its toll on the tenure of Gracia, with his side currently languishing precariously by just two points above the drop zone and looking for back-to-back wins for the first time since February 2020.
With Jagoba Arrasate’s men trapped in 19th and searching for a first win since mid-October, Osasuna did not do much better, suffering a streak of 12 games without a victory, although a win over Valencia will see them reduce the gap to just one point and make things quite interesting close to the foot of the table.
Jasper Cillessen is still dealing with a hamstring injury, so after Cristian Rivero Sabater was granted a run against Alcorcon in the Copa del Rey, the ever-present Jaume Domenech will be restored to Gracia’s XI. Maxi Gomez will continue to head the line in La Liga with Kevin Gameiro still dealing with a hamstring injury. Chimney Avila remains a long term absentee for the tourists.
This season, there has been nothing to rejoice about at Mestalla, but the continued excellence of local lad Carlos Soler kept the momentum in Valencia very much alive. In a 4-1 victory over Real Madrid earlier this season, the 24-year-old famously won a hat-trick and followed up with an assist in the 2-2 draw at Camp Nou against Barcelona, as well as bagging the winner against Real Valladolid last time out. His contributions are such that, alongside Mikel Oyarzabalal, he is one of only two players under the age of 25 to hit a tally of at least 10 direct contributions in this term in La Liga (six goals, four assists) (11, seven goals and four assists).