Video killed Valencia's star
Valencia (8/13) got a lucky break with Real Madrid's scintillating come from behind win over Sevilla on Saturday night, and this evening can double the gap between there selves and the Rojiblancos when they host Racing Santander (5/1).
In last weekend's Atletico-Valencia game, David Silva put Los Che in the lead before Atletico were awarded a controversial penalty.
Here's what happened; Marchena deliberately handballed in the penalty box when he went to ground, pushing the ball away from Aguero. The ref did not see it, the officials did not raise a flag and play therefore continued. Furious Atletico players kicked the ball out and surrounded the ref. An Atletico coaching assistant went straight to the fourth official and number four promptly called the ref over. Moments later, the ref walked back onto the pitch, sent Marchena off and awarded a penalty to Atletico.
The right decision, no doubt. But how was it made, was video replay used, was the official influenced by Atletico staff? Atletico were denied what appeared to be a clear penalty moments before Silva scored, was that a factor?
Predictably, a FIFA regulation was cited that bore little relevance to the scenario, having more to do with mistaken identity than anything else. It is must be said that the Spanish federation do have a ruling that allows fourth officials control over contentious game decisions. Why then was Miguel's sending off not reviewed, why have we seen Barcelona and Real Madrid score clearly offside goals or wrongly have legit goals against them disallowed over the years?
A La Zidane in the World Cup, convenient when they want it to be, consistency will likely never come.
Anyway, back to today's game; Racing have proved to be something of a bogey team for Valencia for many a year, particularly at the Mestalla.
This has, however, begun to change with Valencia winning their last two La Liga meetings by 1-0 scorelines (5/1 in tonight's game). Prior to that, Racing had won six in a row. Based on those stats, a draw (13/5) seems unlikely.
Valencia have many injury problems, but Racing have been poor recently. Canales (8/1 to score first, 9/4 anytime) has played nowhere near as impressively as he did before he signed for Real Madrid, and has been accused of a lack of commitment to the Racing colours.
Villa (10/3 to score first, 10/11 anytime) scored for Spain midweek, but could not net one in club colours last Sunday. Given this and the short price, I will not be backing him tonight. You should make your own decision here, he could easily score.
Others scorers you could look at are Mata (11/2 to score first, 6/4 anytime), Silva (6/1 to score first, 13/8 anytime) and should he play, Pablo Hernandez (7/1 to score first, 15/8 anytime).
Like I said last week, Alejandro Dominguez has yet to score for Valencia and must surely get one soon. He gave the ball away a couple of times last week, but overall has played well since joining the club in January. I could get my fingers burned here, but I've decided that it's better to wait for him to start scoring before I consider backing him. After all, a striker could not net a goal in 30 games, but the price changes little. If you think today is the day he breaks his duck, the Argentinean is priced at 5/1 to score first or 11/8 anytime.
Although I expect Valencia to win, I'm cautious of the history and will only bet in-Play.