Spanish La Liga club Valencia will host Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at the Mestalla on Tuesday Feb. 12 in the first leg of their round-of-16 European Champions League two-legged tie. PSG is leading France’s Ligue 1 at the moment while Valencia is just trying to remain competitive. Valencia isn’t one of the wealthiest clubs in Europe and have had to sell some of their top players for cash over the last few years. The Spanish club has sold David Villa to Barcelona, David Silva to Manchester City and Juan Mata to Chelsea to keep financially afloat.
In fact, the club is still in deep money trouble and the local government is basically looking after the franchise for the time being. Valencia owed close to 400 million euros during the 2010-11 campaign and the club’s new stadium has been halted. On the other side of the coin, PSG is owned by rich Qatari businessmen and have been splashing out a lot of money on players such as Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic Argentine forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva, and of course English midfielder David Beckham. They’ve also signed manager Carlo Ancelotti to a huge contract.
It’s believed that PSG has laid out about 250 million euros by signing new players over the last four years. If you believe that buying a team is the right way to do things than you’ll be glad to know PSG leads their league and won their last match 3-1 on Friday with a home win over Bastia. Valencia sits in fifth spot in Spain and need to improve if they hope to make the Champions League again next season.
Valencia managed to beat Celta Vigo 1-0 on the road on the weekend, but manager Ernesto Valverde didn’t have the luxury of resting his top players such as Ever Banega, Sofiane Feghouli, and Roberto Soldado. The game was won in injury time when substitute striker Nelson Valdez headed in the winning goal. Valencia has been playing better since Valverde took over from Mauricio Pellegrino, who was sacked by the club back in December.
While it appears that Beckham won’t be playing for PSG in this match, Valencia will have their hands full with Ibrahimovic and the rest of his teammates. The big Swede currently leads the French league in goals with 21 in 21 league matches. So while they’ll certainly have to mark Ibrahimovic closely they can’t afford to leave other players open as they’re all dangerous around the net. In fact, Ibrahimovic has been setting up his teammates so far in the tournament and has five assists.
PSG will likely be without Silva as well as midfielder Thiago Motta as they’re both suffering from injuries. Valencia should have Victor Ruiz, Diego Alves, and Joao Pereira in the squad and everybody else seems to be healthy.
Valencia will have a hard time beating PSG in the return leg in Paris, so they need to get off to a good start here. However, they probably won’t do any better than earn a draw.
Bet 365 has the latest odds of a Valencia win at 13/10 with a PSG victory at 11/5 and a draw also at 11/5.