Thursday, October 22, 2020

Prediction: Real Madrid vs Valladolid


Verdict: Total goals under 3.5

Best odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: 888sport

With their stadium of Santiago Bernabeu still not ready to host matches through reconstruction, Real Madrid will play their first home game of the 2020/21 season in La Liga at their Castilla side’s venue of Alfredo Di Stefano where they will welcome Real Valladolid on Wednesday evening.

Real Madrid

Los Blancos will have been disappointed by the fact that they were knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16, but finally beating arch-rivals Barcelona to the La Liga title certainly classifies last season as a relatively successful one for them. In fact, Real are now on a run of 13 games in the Spanish top flight without defeat, winning 11 of those. The last two on that run came at the start of this campaign and both away, a goalless draw against Real Sociedad and a 2-3 win over Real Betis.

Betis had the champions by the throat at one point in the game, after goals from Aisa Mandi and William Carvalho overturned an early lead given to Real by Fede Valverde. Nonetheless, Zidane’s men had enough character to get in front again, through an Emerson own-goal and a Sergio Ramos penalty, and win the game.

Meanwhile, Barcelona started their own campaign with an impressive 4-0 win over Villarreal, giving an early sign of desire to regain the title. Therefore, Real cannot afford to go dropping points against a team like Valladolid who, with all due respect, haven’t beaten the 13-time European champions in La Liga since November 2008. The result of this fixture last season (1-1) will, however, serve as a warning against complacency.

Real made no first-team signings this summer, but they did get rid of several players who had no place in Zinedine Zidane’s plans, such as Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez, Achraf Hakimi and Sergio Reguilon. They’re reportedly still working on securing a loan destination for Luka Jovic.

Team News

Wingers Eden Hazard (ankle) and Marco Asensio (knee) haven’t played yet this season and remain doubts for the Valladolid game as well. The same goes for defender Eder Militao who is suffering from a muscular issue. Midfielder Toni Kroos was replaced due to a minor injury at halftime against Betis and could also miss out, which would make the trio of Casemiro, Valverde and Luka Modric practically certain to start. Left-back Marcelo is a doubt too.

Real Valladolid

Valladolid won only nine of the 38 league matches last season, but coupled with 15 draws it brought them a total of 42 points, six more than the relegated Leganes and enough for a 13th place finish. They won’t have been too disappointed with that, though they might be keen to secure survival more comfortably this time around. The club owned and run by former Real Madrid and Barcelona star Ronaldo could perhaps even aim for a top-half placement.

Valladolid acquired the services of striker Shon Weissman from Wolfsberger AC and centre-back Javi Sanchez from Real Madrid this summer. More notable departures included striker Mohammed Salisu who joined Southampton, and attacking midfielder Hatem Ben Arfa whose contract expired and who remains without a club at the moment.

Sergio Gonzalez’s team has played three La Liga games this season so far, a 1-1 draw at home against Sociedad, a 2-0 defeat away to Betis, and another 1-1 draw at home, this time against Celta Vigo. The two points won therein have them in 16th place right now, though table placements are of little significance this early in the campaign.

Team News

Sergio won’t be able to count on goalkeeper Jordi Masip who has tested positive for coronavirus. He was replaced by Roberto between the posts and the 34-year-old is set to be named to start again. Defenders Joaquin Fernandez (muscle injury), Kiko Olivas (knee ligament) and Javi Moyano (abductor) are also out of contention.


Given the vast difference in quality between these teams, to expect anything but a home win in this game seems utterly unrealistic. However, Real won most of their games in recent months by scoring only as many goals as they need, and it’s not very likely that they’ll need much to beat Valladolid.

Verdict: Total goals under 3.5

Best odds: 8/15

Bookmaker: 888sport


Veselin Trajkovic

Vesko is a football writer that likes to observe the game for what it is, focusing on teams, players and their roles, formations, tactics, rather than stats. He follows the English Premier League closely, Liverpool FC in particular. His articles have been published on four different football blogs.



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