Valencia City Derby: Levante gears up for Valencia challenge

Saturday's Valencia City Derby will see Levante host Valencia at the Ciutat de Valencia stadium.

The Ciutat de Valencia stadium will host Saturday's Valencia City derby between Levante and Valencia.   -  Special Arrangement

Eleventh-placed Levante will host Valencia in La Liga's Valencia city derby on Saturday.

There's a lot of buzz surrounding the game as the two sides come into the game separated by all of three points and three places in the La Liga table. This follows Los Che's gutsy 2-1 victory in another regional derby at home to Villarreal, while Los Granotas (Levante) will want to bounce back from their 0-4 defeat at in-form Getafe.

The home side has excelled at home, the Ciutat de Valencia stadium this season, with just one loss through seven La Liga games. The seven wins included the famous 3-1 win over reigning champion Barcelona in early November.

Valencia, meanwhile, has enjoyed success on the road, winning at Athletic Club’s daunting San Mames stadium and picking up an impressive draw away at Atletico de Madrid in recent weeks. Maxi Gomez has made a strong start at the club, scoring six times already in this season, while captain Dani Parejo also has goals six so far - five penalties, and his superb late free kick equaliser at Atletico.

 

Levante's Jose Campana has been a driving force in the centre of the park, while Nemanja Radoja has also settled in really well. Both midfielders scored against Barca. Goalkeeper Aitor Fernandez has also been in spectacular form between the posts, while forwards Borja Mayoral and Roger Marti have also been among the goals recently.

Among many extra twists adding an edge to Saturday’s derby is home coach Paco Lopez having represented both Levante and Valencia during his playing career. Lopez stepped up from the reserve side to save the senior team from relegation in 2017/18, and easily kept them safe again last year while playing really an attacking brand of football.

Levante coach Paco Lopez has represented both Levante and Valencia during his playing career.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Valencia coach Albert Celades has also had a positive influence since taking his first job in senior club management in September, drawing on his experience as a La Liga winner with both Barcelona and Real Madrid as a player.

Recent seasons have seen the home side dominate this derby. Valencia has won the last five meetings at their Mestalla home, with Levante victorious in four of the last six in front of its own fans. With bragging rights at stake, the Valencia City derby promises to a cracking a contest.

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