We all know that Valencia have not been going through...
The Race For Third Place
Valencia face the final stretch of the season with the aim of keeping Villareal at bay.
Valencia and Villareal are within sight of the finish line, and both are aiming for the third place finish that would see them qualify automatically for next season’s Champions League.
The loser of this duel, whoever finished in fourth place, will also be able to compete in the Champions League, but would have to face a qualifying match before entering the tournament.
With thirty points in play, in the last ten games of the championship, everything is possible, though it seems unlikely that these two teams would be able to reach the two teams above them and fight it out for the title (Barcelona and Real Madrid), as there are so far behind in terms of points.
Unsurprisingly, Valencia, currently sitting on 54 points, and Villareal, who have 51 points, are the two candidates for third place, while Espanyol are in fifth place, with 43 points.
This fight will be between the two teams from La Comunitat Valenciana, with their stadiums little more than 50km apart, who share a growing rivalry now that the differences in performance on the pitch are minimal.
The field on which the battle is set sees the team from Mestalla starting with a slight advantage; they are three points ahead of Villareal, and the yellow submarines also have European obligations.
Whilst Valencia have fallen in the Champions League and only have one competition to focus on, Villareal remain in the Europa League, and are aiming to eliminate Bayer Leverkusen from the competition, having already defeated the Germans 2-3 away from home. Though it’s still to be seen whether or now they’ll have to pay attention to two competitions.
Another important piece of information to consider is goal difference, especially after the 1-1 draw at El Madrigal. Though we will have to wait until the teams meet at Mestalla to see who will hold the advantage in that regard.
In the case that it’s another draw, it will be necessary to consider goal difference in general, which, at the moment favours Villareal who sit on +17, while Valencia’s balance is +10.
The game between the two Valencian sides which will take place on the 31st game week could be decisive, even though after that there will still be 21 points to play for.
Furthermore, Valencia have five home games and five away gams remaining, while Villareal have only four home games, and will have to play six as the visiting team.
Both sides still have to play Real Madrid in their respective home stadiums, though Villareal still have to face Barcelona at El Madrigal.