Sevilla ended its five-game winning streak over the weekend, at Bilbao, where the visiting team allowed three goals while scoring once. As a result, they can kiss the Champions League goodbye, since they have no way of closing the gap separating them from the Basque team. Just a few days after missing out on an important objective for 2014, they travel to Valencia and prepare for a siege that will last at least 90 min.
The hosts will be throwing everything they’ve got at Sevilla because they are more or less in the same situation. Both teams failed to win anything notable this season and now that a Champions League berth is out of the picture, winning Europa League is the only thing that matters. The visitors are in a better position, since they won the first leg and didn’t allow a goal, which means that scoring once on the road should be enough to advance to the finals.
The same three injured players that were unable to play one week ago will miss from the starting formation, but none of them is really important for Sevilla. Bacca and Gameiro are fit to play and they will pair up front for the first time in many weeks, as coach Emery chose to use them alternatively. Tonight they will spearhead the offensive and even though the visitors won’t come out firing from the first minute, they will have plenty of opportunities to score a goal.
Valencia knows that unless they take an early lead, everything could be lost and as a result will be compelled to field an offensive starting formation. With five players injured, their options are relatively limited but even so they are real threat for Sevilla and the head to head record speaks for itself. The two teams met 20 times in Valencia and the hosts prevailed 13 times, but not any victory will do.
As far as punters are concerned, there is no point in backing the hosts to qualify, because the odds of Valencia winning by three goals to none are remote. On the other hand it is worth taking a leap of faith with the hosts to win the match in 90 minutes at odds of 2.30 with most bookmakers. Sevilla would probably score the goal its needs to qualify for the final, but it’s hard to believe that they will win the second lag as well.