Two teams with eyes on a top-seven finish in La Liga this season will lock horns at Mestalla on Saturday evening, as Valencia welcome Osasuna.
Valencia are currently ninth in the table, four points behind seventh-placed Villarreal, while Osasuna sit 10th, just one point behind their opponent in this weekend’s contest.
Valencia will again fall short this season in terms of European qualification, as they are 12 points behind sixth-placed Real Sociedad and some 15 behind fourth-placed Atletico Madrid on the same number of games (31).
A top-seven finish would be a step in the right direction for Los Che, though, especially as two disappointing campaigns have seen them finish ninth and 13th since claiming fourth in 2018-19.
Valencia are also chasing silverware in the Copa del Rey this season, preparing to take on Real Betis in the final of the competition on April 22, and a strong end to their league campaign, coupled with Copa del Rey success, would certainly leave the fans feeling confident ahead of next term.
Jose Bordalas’s side, who are ninth in the table on 42 points, are actually unbeaten in their last six league matches, posting three wins and three draws during that run, including draws in their last two against Cadiz and Rayo Vallecano.
Valencia recorded a 4-1 victory over Osasuna in the reverse match between the two sides earlier this season, but the pair played out a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture at Mestalla last term.
Osasuna coach Jagoba Arrasate on March 13, 2022© Reuters
Osasuna, meanwhile, are targeting their highest finish at this level of football since claiming seventh in 2011-12, with a total of 41 points from 31 matches leaving them 10th in the table.
Los Rojillos, who finished 11th last season, are only five points behind seventh-placed Villarreal, and a solid run of form in Spain’s top flight has seen them pick up nine points from the last 15 available.
Osasuna have suffered heavy defeats to Barcelona and Real Betis in their last two away matches but have won each of their last three league fixtures in front of their own supporters. Interestingly, though, the team still have the seventh-best away record in Spain’s top flight this term, claiming 20 points from 15 matches.
Jagoba Arrasate’s side are also among the lowest scorers in La Liga this term, finding the back of the net on just 31 occasions, with only Getafe (28), Mallorca (27), Cadiz (26) and Alaves (24) boasting inferior records when it comes to goals in Spain’s top flight in 2021-22.
Osasuna’s fixture list for the rest of the season is relatively kind, so a top-seven finish could be a real possibility, although their next match after this one is at home to the leaders Real Madrid.