MX23RW : Sunday, September 26 16:40:27| >> :600:205762:205762:
Jun 25, 2020 at 6.30pm UK at Ipurua Municipal Stadium
Kondogbia (16' og.)
Escalante (26'), Charles (74'), Enrich (81'), Orellana (83')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Mangala (59')

Preview: Eibar vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's La Liga fixture between Eibar and Valencia, including team news and predicted lineups.

Valencia make the trip to the Ipurua Municipal Stadium to face Eibar knowing that only three points will do if they want to boost their hopes of qualifying for next season's Champions League.

Meanwhile, Eibar head into Thursday's encounter on the back of five games without success, a run which has left the club sitting just above the relegation zone.

Match preview

Valencia boss Albert Celades pictured on November 5, 2019© Reuters

Aware of the financial benefits of earning Champions League football next season, Albert Celades would have realistically expected a minimum of six points from his side's opening three games after the resumption.

With just four coming from home fixtures against Levante and Osasuna, combined with a heavy defeat at Real Madrid, Valencia have been left facing an uphill task with regards to the top four.

At a time when eight matches are left on the schedule, Celades's side sit six points adrift of a resurgent Atletico Madrid, heaping the pressure on Los Che ahead of their meeting with Eibar.

Although getting a comfortable success over Osasuna on the board has lifted the mood at the Mestalla, there can be no more slip-ups if they wish to earn another year in European football's top tier.

Celades will be optimistic about his team's chances with a favourable fixture list in place, although that will belief will disappear if Eibar prevail against the odds on Thursday.

Five games without success, as well as the improvement of bottom-placed Espanyol, have moved Eibar away from enjoying a solid campaign to now enduring a worrying period.

Although the positives will undoubtedly have been taken from draws against Athletic Bilbao and Getafe, those results have kept the club in close proximity to the relegation zone.

On the plus side, Jose Luis Mendilibar's team only have one more game against opposition who currently occupy a place in the top four.

Nevertheless, the Azulgranas have reached a stage of their season where they desperately need to get maximum points on the board in order to ease the pressure going forward.

While just one win has been recorded from their last 11 outings in all competitions, Eibar have only failed to score on two occasions, away at Celta Vigo and Barcelona.

Eibar La Liga form: WLLLDD

Valencia la Liga form: LWDDLW
Valencia form (all competitions): WDLDLW

Team News

Valencia's Ezequiel Garay pictured in September 2019© Reuters

Valencia are expected to be without Francis Coquelin, Cristiano Piccini and Ezequiel Garay, all through injury.

Barring any fitness issues, alterations are likely to be few and far between, despite Celades having plenty of options in reserve.

Ferran Torres and Denis Cheryshev will be among the players who will feel that they are in contention for a recall.

Having had five days of recovery time, it would come as a surprise if Mendillar made any unnecessary changes to his Eibar starting lineup.

Mendillar only made two alterations during the last contest, an indication that he has confidence in the fitness of his players.

Charles and Sergi Enrich should continue to lead the line, but Ivan Ramis remains absent through injury.

Eibar possible starting lineup:
Dmitrovic; Arbilla, Burgos, Bigas, Cote; Cristoforo, Escalante, Diop, Inui; Charles, Enrich

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Florenzi, Paulista, Guillamon, Costa; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Moreno, Gomez

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Eibar 1-2 Valencia

Despite their contrasting ambitions, we expect this to be a tight contest. However, given their extra urgency to get another three points on the board, Valencia should have enough quality within their squad to edge out their hosts.

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