PREVIEW: Valencia vs RCD Espanyol: Europe on the line for Valencia

Bottom-of-the-table RCD Espanyol travel to the Estadio de Mestalla on Thursday as they take on Europa League-chasing Valencia.

RCD Espanyol come into the tie off the back of seven consecutive defeats, which have quashed their ambitious dreams of survival and officially sentenced them to a campaign in the Segunda División with several matches to spare.

Last time out, the Periquitos welcomed SD Eibar to the RCDE Stadium in a game that would eventually cement the visitors’ place in La Liga for another year, with Los Armeros taking a 0-2 victory thanks to a first-half brace from Edu Exposito.

The hosts, Valencia, are looking to bounce back from their shock 1-0 defeat to relegation-threatened CD Leganés last week as they press on towards Europa League qualification. Four points behind Real Sociedad (who occupy the qualification stage spot), it is a tall order for Salvador Gonzalez’s men, especially with a bout against fourth-placed Sevilla booked in for the final day.

Team news

Questions surround the fitness of Valencia defender Jose Gaya, who has been absent since late June. Forward Manu Vallejo is also in doubt.

Espanyol will likely be without the services of Spaniards Fernando Calero and Pipa, both of whom have been suffering from injuries.

Predicted line-ups

Valencia: Domenech; Florenzi, Gabriel, Diakhaby, Guerrero; Soler, Kondogbia, Guedes; Parejo; Gomez, Gameiro. (4-3-1-2)

RCD Espanyol: Lopez; Victor, Bernardo, Cabrera, Vila; Melendo, Lopez, Roca, Embarba; Wu Lei; Calleri. (4-4-1-1)

Players to watch

Dani Parejo

Dani Parejo has shone in what has been a relatively poor season for Valencia. With eight goals and three assists to his name this term, the midfielder has been an important part in creating opportunities for his side and has acted as a bridge between the defence and the attack.

Wu Lei

Chinaman Wu Lei has been the best of a bad bunch for Espanyol this season. With just five goals chalked up this season, the 28-year-old is responsible for almost a fifth of all goals scored by the Catalan side.

Previous meetings

The reverse fixture took place in early November 2019, and, after taking the lead through a first-half penalty from Marc Roca, Espanyol fell to second-half strikes from Parejo and Maximiliano Gomez which turned the match on its head to finish 1-2.

Espanyol have not won a match at the Estadio de Mestalla since October 2007.

Where to watch on TV

Bet365 are streaming the match through their app.

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