Europa League Betting: Valencia v Atletico Madrid


Valencia 1.90 the draw 3.50 Atlético Madrid 3.85

Unai Emery has informed his players that he won't be in charge at the Mestalla next season, a case of jumping before he's pushed. "The walls listen" was his appropriate turn of phrase. His players reacted though, as Valencia put four past Real Betis in the Primera División.

There has been discontent in the Valencian camp for a while now, players and fans likewise have been vocal with their criticism, a belief that they could be closer to the 'big two' and should have performed better in the Champions League. This judgement seems a little misplaced though, having made £77 million profit since he joined them in 2008, losing superstars Villa, Silva and Mata in the process. The very fact they have remained this competitive is credit to their aforementioned coach.

Los Colchoneros aren't experiencing such issues, Diego Simeone has united the players since arriving at Christmas, stories of unrest and fall outs have been kept at a minimum, which is a success in itself. The Argentines stern attitude has yet to be tested off the pitch, whilst on it his side displays characteristics representative of himself. As a player he won this trophy with Internazionale in 1998, under the former name of the UEFA cup.

Just two years ago his new side saw off their opponents on away goals, before beating Fulham in the final. Only 10 players remain at the two clubs, of the 27 who featured in the first leg of the semi final in 2010. This epitomizes the transitions that both teams have had to undertake in such a short period of time.

Atlético's fate is in their own hands, having recorded a 4-2 victory at the Vicente Calderon last week. Back in September, Valencia beat Atlético 1-0 with a Roberto Soldado goal the difference. Valencia have never lost a European home game against La Liga rivals, while Atlético are yet to win a UEFA match on the road in Spain. In five of Los Che's last six games, they have either conceded four or scored four goals. With a need to get at least two in this match, they will be sure to attack from the word go, over 3.5 goals is 2.45. This leaves the likelihood of gaps appearing at the back as they become susceptible to the counter attack, a reverse of the 1st leg score-line in Valencia's favour can be found at a huge 38.00. There's every chance that Valencia might win the game, which you can get at 1.90, but not the tie overall.

Jérémy Mathieu looks set to miss the clash with an Achilles injury. Trying to second guess Emery is never an easy task, the two Pablo's - Hernández and Piatti - have featured alongside Soldado and Jonas in training this week. The away team are expected to be similar to last Thursday, Diego Godín is likely to return in central defence with Alvaro Dominguez making way. Tiago and Gabi will fight out the opportunity to partner Mario Suárez in the double pivot in midfield.

If first goal scorer takes your fancy, then look no farther than Falcao at 5.75 for Atléti. The Colombian has seven in his last eight competitive matches, currently leading the top scorers' table for the tournament with ten goals alongside FC Schalke 04's Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (who scored a further four in qualifying). No player has ended up as top scorer in successive editions of this competition before, having set a record of 17 goals last year for former side Porto.

Jonas for Valencia has four in his last five, he can be found at 7.25, whilst Soldado (4.80) will once again look to stake a place in Spain's European Championship squad. Their own leading scorer in the competition is none other than centre-back Adil Rami (28.00), set pieces are an area they will look to capitalise.

Prediction: Valencia to win 2-1

Best Bet: Either Valencia centre-back, Victor Ruíz or Adil Rami to score at any time 11.50