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Preview: Levante vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups
20/12/2021 14:52:39

Valencia will be looking to make it three La Liga victories in a row when they take on rivals Levante in the Valencian derby on Monday night.

Los Che are currently seventh in Spain's top flight, picking up 25 points form their opening 17 matches, while Levante sit rock bottom of the division, with the strugglers yet to win in the league this term.

We say: Levante 1-1 Valencia

Levante have shown improvement under their new manager, and Valencia will be missing some important players for this derby. If we had to pick a winner then it would be the visitors, but Levante have enjoyed a lot of success at home to their bitter rivals, and we have a feeling that this one could end all square.

Match preview

Levante have not been victorious in La Liga since overcoming Eibar on April 10, and they are the only team in Spain's top flight yet to record a single win this term, with a record of eight draws and nine defeats from 17 matches leaving them bottom of the division on eight points.

The Frogs are already seven points behind 17th-placed Alaves and will enter Monday's contest off the back of a 4-3 defeat at Espanyol last time out, with Javi Puado's second-half brace proving enough for the Catalan side to collect all three points, making it another disappointing afternoon for the league's basement club.

Levante have not particularly been in any relegation trouble since their return to this level in 2017, but it does appear that they are in for a serious battle to retain their top-flight status this term.

Alessio Lisci is now in charge of first-team affairs at the club, and he has made an encouraging start, winning one, drawing two and losing one of his four matches at the helm, with the victory coming in the Copa del Rey earlier this month, but the top-flight side lost to Alcoyano on penalties in the cup on December 14.

Levante will be the underdogs heading into Monday's derby, but they recorded a 1-0 victory in the corresponding match between the two sides during the 2020-21 campaign.

Valencia have won 14, drawn eight and lost eight of their 30 previous La Liga matches against Levante, with all eight of the defeats coming at the home of their rivals, including last season's 1-0 loss.

Los Che should enter this match full of confidence, though, as they are unbeaten in their last eight matches in all competitions and have been victorious in each of their last four.

Indeed, Valencia have beaten Utrillas and Arenteiro in the Copa del Rey this month, in addition to overcoming Celta Vigo and Elche in their last two league matches to rise up the table.

A record of six wins, seven draws and four defeats from 17 matches has seen Jose Bordalas's side collect 25 points to sit seventh, and they are only four points off fourth-placed Atletico Madrid.

Valencia finished 13th in La Liga last season, which proved to be their worst campaign since claiming 14th in 1987-88, but another victory here would strengthen claims that the club are capable of a top-six finish this term.

Team News

Levante will be without the services of Nemanja Radoja through coronavirus, while Shkodran Mustafi is unavailable for selection due to injury.

The home side will also be without both Mickael Malsa and Francisco Son through suspension, but Sergio Postigo has a chance of being involved, having recovered from a long-term injury.

There are not expected to be any real surprises in the home side's XI for this match, with Jorge de Frutos, Enis Bardhi, Jose Luis Morales and Roger Marti all expected to feature in attacking areas.

As for Valencia, Jose Gaya is available again following suspension, but Daniel Wass and Maxi Gomez will both sit this fixture out due to bans of their own.

Gabriel Paulista remains unavailable for selection through injury, while Omar Alderete and Thierry Correia will face late fitness tests to determine their involvement on Monday.

There will be changes from the side that started in the Copa del Rey on Thursday, with Carlos Soler, Hugo Guillamon, Helder Costa and Goncalo Guedes all in line to return, while there could be a starting role in midfield for Yunus Musah.

Levante possible starting lineup:

Cardenas; Miramon, Vezo, Pier, Clerc; Campana, Pepelu; De Frutos, Bardhi, Morales; Marti

Valencia possible starting lineup:

Cillessen; Foulquier, Diakhaby, Guillamon, Gaya; Soler, Musah, Racic, Duro; Guedes, Costa

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