Valencia will be looking to book their spot in the quarter-finals of the Copa del Rey when they take on third-tier side Atletico Baleares in Majorca on Sunday morning.
Los Che have beaten Utrillas, Arenteiro and FC Cartagena to advance to this stage of the competition, while Baleares have overcome Calahorra, Getafe and Celta Vigo.
Having already claimed two La Liga scalps this season in the shape of Getafe and Celta, Baleares will believe that they are capable of beating Valencia on Sunday despite being the huge underdogs to triumph.
Xavier Calm‘s side have not actually been in league action since losing 3-1 to Barcelona II on December 12, and they will not resume their Primera Division RFEF – Group 2 season until January 23 against Algeciras.
Baleares have never played in La Liga, while they have competed in the second tier of Spanish football for just four seasons throughout their history, so their presence in this round of the competition is a surprise.
The Majorca outfit previously reached the round of 16 in 1986-87, but they have never made the quarter-finals and will therefore be looking to create history against Valencia on Sunday.
Valencia, meanwhile, have won the Copa del Rey on eight occasions, with their last success coming in 2019, when they recorded a 2-1 victory over Barcelona in the final.
The six-time Spanish champions have beaten Utrillas, Arenteiro and FC Cartagena to advance to the round of 16, and they are the overwhelming favourites to progress to the final eight this weekend.
Los Che will enter this match off the back of a disappointing 4-1 defeat at Real Madrid in La Liga last weekend, which saw them drop into 10th position in the table.
Jose Bordalas‘s side are only five points off fourth-placed Atletico Madrid, though, and will believe that they have enough quality to challenge for a European finish in Spain’s top flight.
Valencia have recently been a force in the Copa del Rey, reaching the semi-finals in two of the last six seasons, in addition to lifting the trophy in 2019, and they are certainly in the mix to win it once again.
Baleares, as mentioned, have not been in action since beating Celta 2-1 in the last round of the competition on January 5, so the third-tier side have had a lot of time to prepare for this contest.
As a result, it would not be a surprise to see the same XI sent onto the field here, with Manuel Martinez, who netted both goals against Celta, being joined in attack by Dioni and former Tottenham Hotspur youngster Armando Shashoua.
Valencia, meanwhile, are again expected to be without Carlos Soler, Gabriel Paulista, Dimitri Foulquier and Toni Lato through injury.
Daniel Wass is also unlikely to be involved, with the midfielder being strongly linked with a move to Atletico Madrid, while Helder Costa, Denis Cheryshev and Maxi Gomez are doubts following recent positive tests for COVID-19.
There is likely to be another start for teenager Jesus Vazquez at left-back, while Marcos Andre, Jaume Domenech and Uros Racic should be among those to rotate into the side following the loss to Real Madrid.
Pedro Serna and Manu Vallejo are also in line for starts, while Hugo Duro is available following a suspension and should also feature in the first XI for the La Liga club.
Atletico Baleares possible starting lineup:
Ginard; Ferrone, Orfila, Delgado; Canario, Cordero, Petcoff, Vilarrasa; Shashoua; Martinez, Dioni
Valencia possible starting lineup:
Domenech; Piccini, Diakhaby, Guillamon, Vazquez; Musah, Racic, Serna; Vallejo, Andre, Duro
The home side deserve a lot of respect for what they have achieved in the competition this season, but we are finding it difficult to back the third-tier club to go any further. Valencia will not be at full strength but should still have more than enough to progress to the quarter-finals of the competition this weekend.
Our analysis of all available data, including recent performances and player stats up until an hour before kickoff, suggested the most likely outcome of this match was a Valencia win with a probability of 41.27%. A win for Atletico Baleares had a probability of 32.75% and a draw had a probability of 26%.
The most likely scoreline for a Valencia win was 0-1 with a probability of 10.01%. The next most likely scorelines for that outcome were 1-2 (8.74%) and 0-2 (7.09%). The likeliest Atletico Baleares win was 1-0 (8.72%), while for a drawn scoreline it was 1-1 (12.34%). The actual scoreline of 0-1 was predicted with a 10% likelihood. Our data analysis correctly predicted a 0-1 win for Valencia in this match and our team at Sports Mole correctly predicted the win for Valencia.