Peace in short supply
Valencia v Real Betis
Tuesday 10 May, 18:00
Live on LaLigaTV
Girona had 69% possession and double the goal attempts that Tenerife did last night, but while the visitors contributed to our BTTS bet, the hosts drew a blank. Annoying.
We'll head to Spain, because Valencia are up against Real Betis in La Liga, and I'm focusing on something pretty specific, which is the hosts' predilection for the rough stuff.
As a coach, Jose Bordalas demands 100% commitment and a willingness to put your body on the line. His Getafe side could play, but they were largely about being aggressive and über-competitive. He got them into Europe and kept them out of trouble at the sharp end of La Liga, and he has rebuilt Valencia in the same way.
Valencia have only won ten games in La Liga this term, but they have been tough to beat, and they have picked up more cards than any other side in the Spanish top flight. Los Che have racked up 118 cautions and eight red cards in the league this term. His former side Getafe is second on that naughty list, so Bordalas' legacy at the Coliseum is apparently secure.
Betis suffered a heart-breaking home defeat to Barcelona last time out, as Jordi Alba did a Marco van Basten with virtually the last kick of the game, thrashing home a volley on the run. That result, coupled with Atletico Madrid's derby win over Real, means the Copa del Rey winners are six points off top spot with three games left.
Manuel Pellegrini's men have to push for a win, then, and Valencia will be ready and waiting to hustle and harry them. Valencia have picked up 36 more yellow cards and two more reds than tonight's opponents, and when the teams met in the Copa del Rey final last month (a game Betis won on penalties), Valencia picked up five yellows to Betis' four. It was 4-2 to Valencia inside 90 minutes. In the reverse fixture, Bordalas' side picked up five of the seven yellows shown.
Valencia have a had a man sent off in each of their last two La Liga games, and I think they'll want a measure of revenge after losing the cup final. I'll back the hosts in the Team To Get The Most Cards market on the Sportsbook at evens.