Valencia v Cadiz
Wednesday 2 February, 20:00
Live on Premier Sports 1
La Liga’s two most-carded players play for these two sides and while it’s worth treading carefully, big prices about the pair just look too tempting.
Valencia are the Spanish top flight’s most-carded team and their centre-back Omar Alderete is a man who has featured in this column more than once this season – for good reason. He’s now collected nine cards in 18 league starts since arriving from Hertha Berlin in the summer.
On the opposing side, Varazdat Haroyan has also been something of a card magnet, receiving eight cards in 15 La Liga starts. Like Alderete, he’s a newcomer to Spanish football and his robust approach has certainly been noted by referees.
The card double can be backed at 13/1 which I’d happily take – if both men make the teamsheet.
The problem is we can’t be sure of that.
Alderete limped off in his last game, an injury which ruled him out of Paraguay’s squad for the past week’s World Cup qualifiers.
However, there have been some suggestions that he’s now fit to play again and could make an appearance here.
With fellow centre-back Fali ruled out through injury, Haroyan looks a more likely starter and it could be a busy night for the Cadiz defence. Only four teams have scored more goals than Valencia in La Liga this season and Cadiz are embroiled in a relegation scrap. I use the word scrap for good reason too – Cadiz are also in the top eight for cards received.
The likes of Goncalo Guedes should trouble the Armenian defender, who isn’t the most agile.
If the double isn’t an option, I’ll happily try Haroyan as a single at 5/2.
There are two main reasons why the duo are on offer at what look inflated prices.
First of all, the referee is Javier Alberola Rojas, the most lenient in card terms in the top flight.
Yet, he’s picked up rather of late, showing five red cards in his last nine games, while his last two have seen 11 yellows and a red.
A sending off in this match is at 3/1 – another back-up option if neither of our player card picks starts.
The second reason is it’s the Copa del Rey. Like most domestic cup competitions, it usually averages fewer cards than the league, although given we’re now at the quarter-final stage, that’s less of a worry.
Both teams should be going full pelt and in any case, Senor Alberola Rojas has shown more cards in the cup than the league this season – 18 yellows and three reds in four games so far.
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