Peter Lim’s Valencia era begins in earnest at Sevilla
Valencia have not won away to Europa League holders Sevilla in any competition since Rafa Benitez scooped the La Liga title (2004), but their new era under up-and-coming head coach Nuno Espirito Santo starts there in earnest. They are 5/2 outsiders with Coral to get a victory in Andalusia.
With investment from wealthy Bats backer and Singapore businessman Peter Lim, there’s been a summer of change at the Mestalla. Benfica trio Joao Cancelo, who will compete with fellow Portuguese player Joao Pereira for the right back berth, box-to-box midfielder Andre Gomes and striker Rodrigo Moreno are all key loan captures.
Once temporarily on Bolton Wanderers’ books, Moreno will be charged with forming a potent partnership with Valencia academy graduate and great hope Paco Alcacer up front. Odds of 2/1 say Rodrigo will cap his bow with a goal, while fellow young Spaniard Paco is 7/4 in the anytime market.
Lim’s lolly has also attracted World Cup winning defender Shkodran Mustafi and Argentine left back Lucas Orban to Los Che. Odds of 15/4 say a new-look Valencia backline can keep a clean sheet at Sevilla.
Orban’s compatriots Rodrigo De Paul and Bruno Zuculini may have wide and midfield berths, but the Bats have offloaded well-known playmaker Ever Banega to their opponents here. He is 7/2 to prove Valencia wrong to sell him by scoring against them.
Sevilla boss Unai Emery, who also managed Los Che between 2008 and 2012 and is 11/10 to begin the campaign with victory, has retained his own strike partnership of Colombia hitman Carlos Bacca and French poacher Kevin Gameiro. Both grabbed goals in one of the four meetings between these teams last term.
Bacca is 5/4 to be on target anytime, while Gameiro is a better 7/4. Former Sevilla skipper Ivan Rakitic can no longer supplement the goals of these strikers, however, as the Croatia midfielder was sold to Barcelona. The Andalusian outfit built a rapport with Barca because of that buy, however, and the loan captures of Denis Suarez (5/2) and ex-Everton loanee Gerard Deulofeu (2/1) were sweeteners.
With so many subplots to this season opener, Sevilla against Valencia, which is live in the UK on Sky Sports 5 at 20:00 BST, will prove to be an absorbing encounter. Five of the last eight meetings have seen both teams score, so back this happening and a win for Emery against his old employers at 16/5.