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UEFA Europa League

  • 16 February 2012
  • • 20:05
  • • Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire
  • Referee: P. Rasmussen
  • • Attendance: 24185
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Stoke City - Valencia Preview: Hosts face Spanish competition for the first time in their history

Stoke City - Valencia Preview: Hosts face Spanish competition for the first time in their history

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The Potters continue their European adventure against the Spanish side who have been gathering momentum in their domestic trails and will be tough opposition for the home team


PROBABLE LINEUPS

STOKE CITY



Sorenson
Shotton, Huth, Shawcross, Wilson
Pennant, Delap, Diao, Etherington
Crouch, Jerome

VALENCIA


 

Alves
Miguel, Ruiz, Dealbert, Mathieu
Feghouli, Albelda, Tino Costa, Aduriz, Jordi Alba
Soldado


Tony Pulis has just the one player sidelined through injury for the visit of the Spanish side, with Mamady Sidibe expected to miss the remainder of the season with a knee injury. Matthew Upson, meanwhile, is suspended for both ties with Valencia after his straight red card in the loss against Besiktas.

The Potters will have one eye on their fixture with Crawley Town in the FA Cup on Sunday, but the 54-year-old boss will most likely look to field a side of youngsters mixed with a touch of experience and will not worry too much in starting a strong team against the La Liga outfit.

Valencia themselves are missing a total of four players, with Hedwiges Maduro, Paco Alcacer, Pablo Hernandez and Sergio Canales all out. Also, with Los Che creeping up behind the faltering Barcelona in the Spanish league, a number of players could be rested as they focus on their domestic exploits.


DID YOU KNOW?
  • Valencia have featured in one Europa League final and won it, beating French side Marseille 2-0 in 2004.
  • This the is Spanish side’s manager Unai Emery’s (right) third try at the Europa League, after exiting in the quarter-finals on both previous occasions.
  • Like Emery, Stoke City are also experiencing their third go at Europe’s second-tier club competition after two dips into the then Uefa Cup back in the 1970s, where both times they were knocked out in the first round.
  • This is the first time this two outfits have clashed and the first Spanish side Stoke have faced competitively.
  • The winner of a round of 32 tie will collect £250,000 for progressing to the last 16, whilst the overall winner will collect £2.5 million. In comparison, a team that makes the group stages of the Champions League receive £3.25m
  • Inter Milan hold the record for most Europa League titles (3) and won their last back in 1998.
  • Stoke have only lost one match on their path to the last 32, losing 3-1 to Besiktas in their final group tie.

Related

Field Report
Reader's Predictions
Top 3 Predictions
Head to Head
Europa League ‎(EL)‎ 23 Feb 2012 Valencia 1 - Stoke City 0
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
  • Play by Play
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Europa League ‎(EL)‎ 16 Feb 2012 Stoke City 0 - Valencia 1
  • Player Ratings
  • Match Report
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Last Five Matches
Odds
Team News
Available Squads
1Asmir BegovicGoalkeeper
4Robert HuthDefender
12Marc WilsonDefender
17Ryan ShawcrossDefender
28Andy WilkinsonDefender
7Jermaine PennantMidfielder
24Rory DelapMidfielder
26Matthew EtheringtonMidfielder
8W. PalaciosMidfielder
19Jonathan WaltersStriker
25Peter CrouchStriker
29Thomas SørensenGoalkeeper
30Ryan ShottonDefender
6Glenn WhelanMidfielder
18Dean WhiteheadMidfielder
9Kenwyne JonesStriker
10Ricardo FullerStriker
33Cameron JeromeStriker
13GuaitaGoalkeeper
4Adil RamiDefender
2BrunoDefender
-DealbertDefender
3Jérémy MathieuDefender
24Tino CostaMidfielder
5Mehmet TopalMidfielder
8Sofiane FeghouliMidfielder
20Aritz Aduriz ZubeldiaStriker
7JonasStriker
17Pablo PiattiStriker
1Diego AlvesGoalkeeper
23Miguel BritoDefender
5Víctor RuizDefender
-AlbeldaMidfielder
10Ever BanegaMidfielder
44Juan BernatMidfielder
9Roberto SoldadoStriker
Players to Watch
Peter Crouch
Peter Crouch
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 25
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0

The towering striker has scored in both of his Europa League appearances this season and grabbed the winner away at Maccabi Tel-Aviv.

 The former Liverpool man is not fairing quite so well on the domestic front, but could well rise to the occasion in what is the more important of the two matches in this tie for Stoke and come up with the goods up top, using his height and awkward movement to his advantage.

Roberto Soldado
Roberto Soldado
Position: Striker
Squad Number: 9
Games Goals YC RC
0 0 0 0
Although Valencia were knocked out of the Champions League, the former Real Madrid striker still managed to score five goals in six outings and has also been on fire in La Liga, grabbing a further  12.

Like Crouch, he will use his tall frame to make things tricky for the Stoke defenders and they will need to keep an eye on him during set-pieces into the box.
Prediction

This will be the more important tie of the two for the hosts as they try to take advantage of their imposing support, but it may not be enough to repel the momentum of the Spanish side who are gunning for Champions League qualification in their domestic league.

Valencia’s squad of seasoned European winners and their experience in the more elite tournament will make it hard for Stoke to hold a lead to take to Spain next week.

Editor's Prediction

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