“Improving on last year’s league placing, however, appears impossible. Valencia lost all four games against Barça and Real last season – going down 6-3 at home to the latter in April – and the big two look even stronger than they were a year ago. Valencia also face fresh competition from newly rich Málaga, while Villarreal, Atlético Madrid and Athletic Bilbao will have designs on third place as well. Llorente and Emery may have brought a sliver of optimism to a debt-laden club, and Emery may dream of “creating a great team”, but Valencia’s biggest challenge this season will be simply staying where they are.”
My latest column for Eurosport, on the multiple challenges that Valencia are having to juggle as they seek to break up the Barcelona-Real Madrid duopoly in La Liga, can be read here.