Valencia present their candidacy

With both Real Madrid and Atlético struggling form-wise, Valencia have emerged as the main candidates to challenge FC Barcelona. Their 0-2 win at Cornellá saw the side make club history with an eighth consecutive league win, this coming after two disappointing campaigns where "Los Che" finished 12th in LaLiga. A new owner, a rotating door policy that saw players come and go and a demanding fan base who have an acute sense of the club's history and know where Valencia should be has meant that the turnaround has been nothing short of miraculous with new president Anil Murthy making two astute decisions in bring in both Alemany and he in turn hiring Marcelino as head-coach.

SANTI MINA

Parejo, Kondogbia tandem

The first thing the Alemany and Marcelino team decided upon was an overhaul of the squad with 12 players making for the exit door in an effort to restore harmony to a dressing room shrouded under a cloud of tension. Marcelino decided that Parejo was one player worth keeping and this after the player had numerous run-ins with the home fans after his interest in a move to Sevilla FC. Parejo was paired with former Inter player Kondogbia in the centre of the park and the result has been sensational. The discovery of the campaign however at the club is that of Gonçalo Guedes, the Portuguese star joining the Mestalla outfit on loan from PSG and he's been one of the key revelations of this 2017/18 season.

Santi Mina (Valencia CF) & Dani Parejo (Valencia CF)

Barça up next at Mestalla 

Both Kondogbia and Guedes along with other Valencia players have an eye on making the 2018 Russia World Cup with their national sides and Murillo, Paulista, Neto, Andreas along with Carlos Soler would hope to have a chance of being on the plane Russia-bound. Marcelino has also found the perfect place for Rodrigo playing just behind Zaza. The squad may be somewhat short but the side don't have the rigors of Champions League football to contend with and only January with weekly Copa del Rey matches could prove to be a struggle for a thin squad as there are no real obvious replacements for Parejo or Kondogbia. January is still on the horizon however and the focus now turns to Sunday and a home game at Mestalla against Barça who top the table with a four point advantage. The Catalan side are set to be without key defender Piqué in what should be a thrilling contest.