La Liga kicks off on Friday night with a clash between Girona and newly promoted Real Valladolid. It may not be the most glamorous fixture this weekend but the Estadi Municipal de Montilivi is a lively little ground and it should be a good atmosphere as Girona look to build on a successful first season in the top flight.
They will do so with a new man at the helm. The loss of inspirational boss Pablo Machin to Girona was a blow but they’ve replaced him with Eusebio Sacristán, who did a good job at Sociedad before things went a little bit sour last term. The playing personnel is largely the same though and there’s no reason why the Catalan side can’t have another good season, providing Eusebio doesn’t try to change too much from what was largely a winning formula last term focused on attacking play with wing-backs bombing forward down the flanks.
They are set to complete the signing of Patrick Roberts on loan from Manchester City to bolster their attacking options and it’ll be interesting to see if any more players make the same journey over the next couple of weeks given the partnership that exists between the clubs.
Real Valladolid though have no such luxuries and head to Catalonia as underdogs, as they will be for most of their games this season. They return to the top flight after four years in the Segunda Division but the odds are stacked against them in truth. They came up via the play-offs but have lost their top scorer and main inspiration Jaime Mata on a free to Getafe and don’t really appear to have brought in the sort of quality needed to compete at this level.
The game will be live for free on Eleven Sports Facebook page.
Girona vs Real Valladolid Predictions
Score Prediction: 3-0 Girona
It could be a difficult evening for the new boys. Girona were strong at home for much of last term with Cristhian Stuani prolific in front of goal and they have enough firepower to put what is an unconvincing Valladolid defence to the sword.
Betting Tips: Girona Win
Girona can be backed at a shade shorter than Evens to win this one and that appears to offer value. While newly promoted teams have made bright starts in recent years, it’s very hard to get excited about Valladolid and it could be a steep learning curve from the off against a Girona team that has impressed in pre-season.
- Girona have won 4 of their 5 friendlies heading into the new season including a 4-1 win over Tottenham.
- 7 of their 8 home league wins last season were to nil.
- Valladolid haven’t finished in the top half of La Liga since 1999/00.
- They’ve had 9 bottom half finishes and 9 seasons in the Segunda since then.
- They were the top scorers in the Segunda Division last term but also had the worst defensive record in the top half.
Head to Head
Girona have won 4 of their last 5 home games against Real Valladolid. This will be the first ever top flight meeting.
Girona Team News:
The main issues are with the full-backs with Aday Benitez serving a one-game ban and Johan Mojica out injured. Cristhian Stuani should start having only just come back from the World Cup.
Valladolid Team News:
Keko should make his debut following a loan switch from Malaga. Fellow new boy Ivi is out injured.