Crystal Palace return to Selhurst Park for the first time in just under three months this afternoon, but how much do you know about today’s opponents Valencia?
With a name that is known to football fans across Europe, Valencia’s stature hasn’t exactly been a trigger for success in recent years, with the high-profile move to make Gary Neville their manager last season bringing their dysfunctional inner workings to the forefront of football fans’ minds across the UK.
Having played out a 1-1 draw with our Premier League counterparts Bournemouth earlier in the week, the Mestalla residents will be hoping to go one better in SE25 this afternoon, but with today marking the only pre-season friendly Alan Pardew’s men will play at Selhurst Park all summer, there will likely be a desperation on our part to put up a good show.
After seeing the French and Welsh players return from their extended breaks earlier this week, it looks highly likely that most of them will play a major role in today’s game,with the pace of play acting as a litmus test over their readiness to face off against West Brom when the curtain raises on a new Premier League season in seven days time.
There will be one or two worried glances cast towards Connor Wickham throughout the afternoon from the stands, with the former Sunderland man acting as the squad’s only fit first-team striker at the time of writing. Of course, you wouldn’t expect many full-blooded challenges to be flying in under the glow of South London sunshine, but injuries can occur in the most innocuous of circumstances, prompting many to think carefully about our impending test against the Baggies rather than this afternoon’s result.
The above feature from Ed Malyon acts as the perfect accompaniment to today’s game for Spanish football aficionados and novices all the same, offering an easy to read insight into the challenges we’ll be faced with in our bid to close our 2016 pre-season campaign with a bang.