Sunday, April 25, 2010


Valladolid brought in Javier Clemente to save them from relegation at the beginning of the month and the vastly experienced coach, with 35 years of management under his belt, despite still being "only" 60 years of age, has immediately stamped his authority and style on the team, They have beaten Sevilla 2-1 with a degree of ease and were possibly worthy of a bigger winning margin and have also backed that up with two clean sheets on the road, in games where they enjoyed the better of long periods. The possession stats in the Sevilla match do Valladolid scant justice, they created 20 chances, dominated the game, took a two goal lead and then sat back, daring the high flying visitors to score twice. This is very much the Clemente MO, his well organised sides are very hard to break down. The visitors do remain in big trouble and every point is absolutely vital, but now have a bit of swagger and JC will have them scrapping for every ball and looking to keep things very tight.

Hosts have not scored in three and failed to beat Xerex and Tenerife another two sides struggling in the drop zone, in their last two home starts. They are not entirely clear from relegation concerns of their own, but do have a points buffer, they will be desperate not to lose and are aware that another point would be likely to keep their gap over the bottom three to a minimum five, which might be enough. This could well go under and 0-0 is certainly not out of the question, but I prefer the away side whom I see as the likeliest winner, if there is to be one and am happy to take them getting the minimal handicap start.

Quick side note, Valladolid could go to Barcelona on the last day of the season, needing something to stay up, in theory, if the Catalan side have already clinched the title this could be a good fixture, especially if they have a Champions League final ahead. But Clemente is said to have lost the national team job, despite a 31 match unbeaten run, partly because he refused to pick Bare coach Pep Guardiola after a falling out between the two. This meant Guardiola missed out on Euro 96 and I doubt that has been forgotten, better for Pucela to get the points they need before they find out for sure.

Valladolid +1/4 ball asian line, circa 1.93 as I type.

Good Luck.

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