Trailing 4-2 from the clash in the Spanish capital, when Valencia were second best throughout, it is a tall order for Thursday’s hosts to overcome the deficit but their form at the Mestalla is usually excellent and, at odds against, are worth risking in what should be an exciting match.
Away goals from Jonas and, in added time, Ricardo Costa mean Valencia are rated 3.75 shots to qualify but Atletico’s form on their travels is poor and a fast start from Unai Emery’s team would put the visitors under pressure.
It is just three wins away from the Vicente Calderon in La Liga since September and Atletico have lost more than half of their matches in that time, tasting defeat on nine occasions in 17 contests.
While Atletico’s form in the Europa League has been superb, last Thursday’s win was their tenth consecutive triumph, this semi-final clearly has a much more domestic feel to it and their vulnerability on the road is there for all to see in the Spanish top flight.
In contrast, Valencia enter Thursday’s match on the back of three successive home triumphs in which they have scored four goals on each occasions, in wins over AZ, Rayo Vallecano and Real Betis, and only once in the past 12 months has any visiting side stopped the hosts scoring at the Mestalla.
The corresponding La Liga fixture in September ended 1-0 to Valencia and, while not enough for them to advance, would be good enough to land the wager.
That would certainly do for me but I suspect there will be more goals and it is the pick of the two semi-finals in which Athletic Bilbao play Sporting Lisbon in the other.
2pts Back Valencia (vs. Atletico Madrid) @ 2.10 (various)