Some call it just another match, but this derby can be just as fierce as the Derby de la Comunitat. The submarines are all set to face "the frogs". Let’s just hope we can jump up the table with a victory. It marks the return of our former keeper Diego Mariño, who signed for Levante last season.
In our opening match of the season, we won 2 – 0 at the Ciutat de Valencia ground, but Levante are not a side to be underestimated. This is a crucial game to win if we are press up the table as Valencia and Sevilla take on each other. We have a chance of going level with Valencia, if Sevilla win. But a draw may prove more important as we would only be a point behind both.
Levante is nineteenth in the league with 16 points having won only 3 games. But we have had a habit of not taking advantage of these lesser matches, and it couldn’t be any more important than this week.
The squad was announced today:
- Keepers: Asenjo y Juan Carlos.
- Defenders: Mario, Rukavina, Jaume Costa, Víctor Ruiz, Dorado and Musacchio.
- Midfielders: Trigueros, Bruno, Jonathan dos Santos, Pina, Moi Gómez and Nahuel.
- Strikers: Uche, Vietto, Gerard Moreno and Giovani.
Note that we do not have Denis Cheryshev; he is serving a suspension for his fifth yellow card.
There is still a buzz flying around Gabriel. Many pundits are in two minds about it; I think it could go through (and the fact he's been left out of the side suggests a move is indeed imminent) but only if Arsenal are ready to splash out 20 million for him. We have no need to sell him, so Arsenal would have to activate his release clause. Rumours in English papers are that Man U are also interested which may booast the price up.
Gabriel played in the Copa del Rey ,and I am expecting that to be his last match for us. If Marcelino is convinced he will leave, it is likely Mateo will start with Ruiz so as not to disrupt anything. With Gerard and Gio starting in the Copa, It will be Vietto and Uche up front.
Cheryshev's loss will be huge; I suppose we should expect a midfield of Moi, Bruno, Manu and J dos.
The granotes are struggling this season, and not wothout reason: second to last in goals scored, second to last in goals conceded. Coach Lucas Alcaraz is doing the best with what he has, but compared to recent Levante squads, this one is rather bare. Ex-Mallorca man Victor Casadesus is their leading goal scorer with four.
Simao Junior and David Barral are suspended and Papakouli Diop is playing for Senegal in the African Cup of Nations, so I guess Mohamed Sissoko is the guy to talk about. Now 30 years old, he was a €12m man in the summer of 2005, when Valencia sold him to Liverpool. Quite a career trajectory--Valencia, Liverpool, Juventus, Paris St Germain--and Levante.
José Mari, ex-Zaragoza midfielder, has recently joined the squad from Colorado Rapids of the MLS. No idea if we might see him tomorrow or not.
Prediction: a tight 1-0 to Villarreal