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Valencia v Stoke: home side to scrape into Europa League last 16

| 23.02.2012

Valencia ended their hoodoo against English sides at the Britannia Stadium, beating Stoke 1-0 to claim a first victory over Premier League opposition in their past eight attempts, and they are 4/9 to follow that up with another success at the Mestalla in the second leg of their Europa League meeting.

Visitors Stoke meanwhile, have never reached this stage of the Europa League before, and will be desperate to make a fist of extending their adventure in the competition, by winning at 7/1.

It is 3/1 for the draw and as Stoke’s physical style and aerial prowess from set-piece situations will be countered by the superior passing style of their hosts, it is not too far-fetched to suggest that the sides will cancel each other out here.

That, of course, would see Valencia progress as they are in possession of an away goal, and it could be worth backing a 1-1 draw at 6/1 as the away side will have to have a real go in Spain.

You can get the same price about Valencia repeating the scoreline they achieved at the Britannia Stadium here too, though it is worth noting that Tony Pulis’ men scored in each of their Group E away trips.

They conceded in each of those games also, and so the 9/2 on offer for a score draw looks appealing, while a Valencia win with both teams finding the net could attract some punters at 5/2, and the 6/5 for simply both teams to score looks unmissable.

Punters looking to back a first scorer in this match will be tempted by Roberto Soldado, who, even at a short 11/4, has tremendous European pedigree, with five Champions League goals to his name this term.

Peter Crouch has a superb European scoring record for the travellers, and with the giant striker certain to cause Valencia problems, the 9/1 odds for him to score first look lengthy.



John Klee