MX23RW : Friday, April 23 13:41:50| >> :60:516:516:
Jul 16, 2020 at 8pm UK at Mestalla
Gameiro (17')
Diakhaby (59'), Coquelin (80')
Costa (90+2')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Pipa (39'), de Tomas (66'), Vila (69'), Espinosa (81')

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

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

Valencia will be aiming to keep their slim hopes of a top-seven finish alive when they welcome already-relegated Espanyol to the Mestalla Stadium in their penultimate game of the season.

Both teams suffered defeats in their most recent outings, with Valencia beaten by a struggling Leganes outfit while Espanyol's losing streak continued against Eibar.

Match preview

Valencia's Dani Parejo looks dejected after Lille's Victor Osimhen scores their first goal on November 5, 2019© Reuters

Valencia had started to pick up a few points again following the sacking of Albert Celades, but caretaker manager Voro was forced to witness his side succumb to a Ruben Perez penalty in a 1-0 defeat to Leganes at the weekend.

Valencia have now lost five times since the Spanish top flight was given the green light to resume, and their European hopes have dwindled severely with just two games left to play.

Voro's men now occupy ninth spot with 50 points - four adrift of seventh-placed Real Sociedad in what has been a hugely disappointing campaign for a Valencia side that enjoyed back-to-back top-four finishes in the previous two campaigns.

Los Ches will take on Sevilla - a side that has already guaranteed Champions League qualification for next season - in their final game of the season but Valencia's European hopes may have already be wiped out by then should Real Sociedad enjoy victory over Sevilla in midweek.

Meanwhile, Espanyol are heading down to the Segunda Division without a fight after suffering their seventh defeat on the bounce against Eibar on Sunday.

Los Periquitos fate was sealed well before the game following their 1-0 loss to Barcelona which confirmed their relegation, and Espanyol are simply playing for pride following a truly disheartening season for Francisco Rufete's men.

Espanyol have not played outside the Spanish top flight since the 1993-94 season, but Rufete's men have only managed to accumulate 24 points all season and never looked likely to produce a miraculous turnaround in the second half of the campaign.

However, three of Espanyol's five wins during the 2019-20 campaign have actually come on the road, although Rufete's men have only found the back of the net four times in their last nine La Liga outings.

Los Periquitos are now facing a Valencia side whom they have only triumphed over once in their last eight meetings, and Los Ches enjoyed a 2-1 victory when the clubs locked horns earlier in the campaign.

Valencia La Liga form: LLLDWL

Espanyol La Liga form: LLLLLL

Team News

Valencia's Ferran Torres in action against Ajax in the Champions League on October 2, 2019© Reuters

Rodrigo Moreno, Ezequiel Garay, Gaya and Cristiano Piccini all remain sidelined for Valencia at a time where Voro needs his strongest squad possible.

Highly-coveted midfielder Ferran Torres, who is supposedly wanted by a host of European sides, will be hopeful of earning a start after coming off the bench for the second half against Leganes.

Carlos Soler is also an option for change on the opposite flank, and Alessandro Florenzi could potentially be handed a start in defence.

As for Espanyol, Pipa is Rufete's solitary injury concern at the minute, with the right-back unlikely to feature before the end of the campaign.

Wu Lei is in line for a return to the starting XI, while Sergi Darder and Raul de Tomas will also be holding out for recalls.

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Domenech; Florenzi, Gabriel, Diakhaby, Costa; Torres, Parejo, Kondogbia, Soler; Gameiro, Gomez

Espanyol possible starting lineup:
Diego Lopez; Gomez, Espinosa, Cabrera, Vila; Melendo, Roca, David Lopez, Darder; Lei, De Tomas

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We say: Valencia 2-0 Espanyol

Valencia will be aware that this is a must-win game if they are to stand any chance of qualifying for next season's Europa League. The result may not matter if Sociedad also triumph in midweek, but given Espanyol's abysmal recent record, we are going for a comfortable home victory.

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Valencia's Ferran Torres in action against Ajax in the Champions League on October 2, 2019
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