It’s hard to find a football follower not impressed with Valencia last season. After season upon season of chaos and instability, Marcelino came in and steered the side to a top four finish, and the Champions League football that comes with it.
It was supposed to signal the start of a new dawn for Valencia, but it has been anything but so far. Valencia have begun the La Liga season with no wins and Los Che lie in 17th place, having scored twice in the league so far.
And it got no better in the Champions League on Wednesday. Despite spending most of the game with a numerical advantage at home to Juventus, Valencia still contrived to lose 2-0, a combination of looking uncertain at the back and toothless up front, and their misfortune was capped off with a missed penalty in stoppage time.
It’s only four games into the league season, so there’s little need to panic, and more than enough time to turn things around and prove this is truly a new dawn. But Valencia need points on the board soon. They face a trip to El Madrigal this weekend, to face Marcelino’s former side Villarreal, who haven’t had a barnstorming start either.
In what’s a city derby, a win for Valencia would go a long way to easing their ways and getting them back on track. A defeat, and it may well be time to panic.
Elsewhere, Real Madrid, who saw their 100% start to the league season come to an end at Bilbao last weekend, host Espanyol, who have defied pre-season assertions so far and are in fourth place.
Barcelona welcome Girona to the Nou Camp, Atletico Madrid will hope their Champions League win in midweek proves a catalyst to galvanise their league season as they prepare for a Madrid derby at Getafe, while bottom of the table Leganes visit Eibar.
Huesca are at home to Sociedad, second from bottom Valladolid travel to Balaidos to face third-placed Celta Vigo, and Real Betis and Bilbao meet at the Benito Villamarin.
Getafe v Atletico Madrid
Real Madrid v Espanyol
Villarreal v Valencia
Levante v Sevilla
Real Betis v Bilbao
Huesca v Real Sociedad
Rayo Vallecano v Alaves
Eibar v Leganes
Barcelona v Girona
Celta Vigo v Valladolid