I’ve been bitter this week. I watched both Copa Del Rey matches (admittedly, I was a bit busier/more distracted during the second one) and I thought ‘man, that should have been us’. But the course of a season leaves no time for regret, and on we go to Levante needing to take care of business and get a win.
In a league as tough as La Liga, every road game is an adventure, but when you are at home against less talented opposition you have to make it count, and although Levante is a very decent side, they are less talented than we are. Sitting 11th in the table, they are actually 8th in non penalty xG. Trouble is they are dead last in non penalty xG against. Unfortunately, we can’t take too much comfort from this prospect, because the last two sides we faced at that end of the xGA table were Espanyol and Valladolid, and well..
Las Granotas are the other team from the city of Valencia so there’s a bit of regional rivalry going on in this one. We’ve faced one another thirty-six times with Villarreal posting a record of 20-6-10. Trouble is, as you’ll remember they actually beat us back in August in a game we led for over an hour.
Against Valladolid, we only took eight shots and only got three on target. Against Osasuna we had nine total and four on target (three scored). For the season we’re averaging over fourteen shots a game, but we haven’t attempted that many shots since mid January. Shots attempted is a very simplistic statistic, and in most situations I wouldn’t worry about it too much, but this is a side that generates its xG by volume, and in our last match Paco Alcacer in particular was simply not involved enough (one shot, twenty-six touches). Whether we get him involved will have a lot to do with how we fare in this match.
I’m an eternal optimist when it comes to predicting scorelines. At home I think we get our mojo back, create a lot of shots, and win 3-1.