The Europa League brought about a rematch that we had all been waiting for: Swansea hosting Valencia. On paper, this match does not seem exciting, but if anyone of you had witnessed the first time these two had matched up in Spain, you would be just as excited as many fans who did.
Swansea visited Valencia in a match where they were underdogs, but due to an early red card given to the home side, the Welsh side dominated the match and won by a score of 4-1.
Well, that was not the case today. Valencia scored inside the opening 20 minutes through Daniel Parejo, and managed to now allow a single goal throughout the rest of the match. The truth of the matter is that this time around, the Spanish side managed to outrun and outplay the hosts as their skill, technique and eagerness were greater throughout the 90 minutes.
Arguably, the best players from Swansea were the Spanish citizens who seemed to match their counterparts with the same determination and fearlessness on and off the ball.
The most obvious difference this time around was that Valencia did not allow Swansea to play their passing game, and certainly did not let them live inside their own third. This is what made Michael Laudrup‘s side struggle the most as they were not used to this type of pressure in Europe, especially from the side they conquered on foreign land.
Valencia are already guaranteed to go through as they have won the group with the 12 points that they have earned thus far. Now, if they defeat Kuban Krasnodar on the final matchday, and Swansea defeats St. Gallen away from home, the Welsh side will advance along with the La Liga reps to the Round of 32.