Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Prediction: Valencia CF vs Real Madrid

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

One of the most exciting games of La Liga this weekend will happen on Saturday, when Valencia host Real Madrid at Mestalla. Both sides are in the Top 4 of the standings, and both need the three points to keep their (slim) title chances alive. Kick-off will be at 15:15 BST this Saturday. Javier Estrada Fernandez will be the referee.

Valencia CF

Valencia have been one of the biggest surprises in La Liga this season. Los Che started the season as a team with a decent chance to fight for a UEFA Europa League berth, but they have surprised everyone with their play. Right now they sit in third place with 40 points, five above Real Madrid and just three behind Atletico Madrid for the second-place race. Although they are coming off a surprising 1-2 loss against Las Palmas the last time out, Marcelino’s men have enjoyed a stellar season and they certainly have enough weapons to go head-to-head against any team in the league. Playing against Real Madrid is always tough, but Valencia have already shown they can battle with any team in the world right now. Especially at home, where they boast an impressive W7 D2 L1 mark. They are the second-best home team in La Liga this season.

Team News

Marcelino will have to deal with a few absentees ahead of this game, though. Gabriel Paulista and Ruben Vezo (both suspension) are out.

Meanwhile, Javier Jimenez (knee), Jeison Murillo (groin) and Carlos Soler (ankle) are all doubtful. Their chances of playing are quite slim, though.

Real Madrid

There is no question that Real Madrid’s season has been a disappointment. They are quite behind FC Barcelona in the title race, and it seems their best bet at the moment would be to fight for a UEFA Champions League berth, or at best, the second place with Atletico Madrid and Valencia. One would have thought the team showed some signs of life when they defeated Deportivo La Coruña 7-1 the last time out, but they are coming off a loss against Leganes in the Spanish Cup earlier this week, a result that propelled them out of the competition in the quarterfinals. Things are not easy right now for manager Zinedine Zidane, but at least the trio of Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema is healthy again. That alone should be a reason for excitement for the fans. They still have a lot of talent, but they must turn things around soon. Otherwise, they even might be in danger of securing a Champions League berth for next season.

Team News

Real Madrid will be almost at full strength ahead of this game. The lone confirmed absence is Jesus Vallejo due to a thigh problem.

Luca Zidane (shoulder) and Dani Ceballos (ankle) are both doubtful. Neither is likely to be part of the matchday squad ahead of this contest.

Key Factors to Consider

  • Valencia are riding a three-game winning streak at home. They have also won four of their last five at Mestalla.
  • Real Madrid are coming off a 1-2 loss to Leganes, a result that ended their participation in the Spanish Cup.
  • Los Merengues are riding a seven-game undefeated streak (W4 D3) on the road across all competitions.
  • The last five games between Valencia and Real Madrid have had over 2,5 goals. Both teams have scored in each of those contests as well.
  • Valencia have won two of the last three meetings against Real Madrid in Mestalla.

Conclusion

This game will have two of the best teams in La Liga on the pitch, and both have proven their attacking power during most of the campaign.

Considering both teams need the three points, I foresee both sides playing with an attacking approach. And it’s quite likely that both sides will end up scoring once it’s all said and done.

Verdict: Both teams to score – yes

Best Odds: 4/11

Bookmaker: 888sport

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Juan Pablo Aravena


A freelance writer and sports analyst with almost five years of experience in the industry before joining SoccerNews, Juan Pablo Aravena is based in Chile and currently contributes to several publications and websites including SoccerNews, 12up, and Sports From The Basement, while also working as a fantasy beat writer for RotoWire, as a database editor for EA Sports, and as a football analyst for SmartOdds and InsideFutbol. His areas of focus are Serie A, Bundesliga, Premier League, LaLiga, and Ligue 1, but he has also written about MLS and South American football in the past.

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