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Preview: Valencia vs. Real Madrid – prediction, team news, lineups

Preview: Valencia vs. Real Madrid – prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides the team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Real Madrid’s trip to Valencia in La Liga.

Sixth will welcome third in La Liga on Wednesday night as Real Madrid make the trip to the Mestalla to face Valencia in what is shaping up to be a very interesting battle.

Valencia are currently three points off the top four ahead of Tuesday night’s fixtures. Madrid, meanwhile, are not challenging for the title this season but will have second-placed Atletico Madrid in their sights.


Valencia

© Reuters

It has been a strange season for Valencia. Indeed, the former Spanish champions have been the draw specialists in the league this term, sharing the points in 16 of their 29 La Liga matches during the 2018-19 campaign.

Los Che have only suffered four defeats this season, however, which is the second-best record in the division in terms of losses. A record of just nine wins in Spain’s top flight this term is disappointing, although they still have a real chance of finishing in the top four come the end of the season.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s fixtures, Valencia are sixth in the table, three points off fourth-placed Getafe. Marcelino‘s side will enter this game off the back of a huge 1-0 victory away to Sevilla at the weekend, with Dani Parejo scoring the only goal from the penalty spot.

Valencia are actually unbeaten in their last 11 league matches, which is a run that stretches back to the start of January. In all competitions, meanwhile, the former Spanish champions are on a 16-game unbeaten run.

There is no getting away from the fact that Los Che have been below-par this season, but it could yet be a successful campaign. Indeed, as well as challenging for a top-four spot in the table, Valencia will face Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey at the end of next month.

Marcelino’s side are also still in the Europa League, meanwhile, and will face fellow Spanish side Villarreal in the quarter-finals of the competition. There are a lot of talented teams left in the Europa League this term, but there is no question that Valencia are capable of challenging for the crown.

In terms of what is to come over the next few weeks, Valencia will travel to Rayo Vallecano in their next league match after this one, before visiting Villarreal for the first leg of their Europa League last-eight tie; then comes a home league game with Levante ahead of the second leg of their quarter-final with the Yellow Submarine.

Valencia’s recent league record against Madrid is not exactly terrific, but Los Blancos have had their own problems this season and only just scraped past basement side Huesca at the weekend.

Recent form: DDWWDW
Recent form (all competitions): WWWDDW


Real Madrid

Marcelo joins in the celebrations with Real Madrid teammate Karim Benzema following the French striker's goal against Huesca on Mach 31, 2019© Reuters

Madrid ensured that they would make it three straight league wins by overcoming Huesca on Sunday night, but it was far from a convincing performance from the reigning European champions.

Indeed, Zinedine Zidane‘s side needed a late Karim Benzema strike to score all three points against the league’s basement side, who had a lot of joy at the Bernabeu. A win is a win, but there is absolutely no question that this Madrid side are still below-par, despite Zidane raising the spirits since his return.

Ahead of Tuesday night’s fixtures, Madrid are third in the table, two points off second-placed Atletico and 12 behind leaders Barcelona. Both Barcelona and Atletico play before Los Blancos, though, and therefore the gap to first and second could be bigger by the time that Zidane’s team take to the field.

La Liga is all that Madrid have to focus on in the final weeks of the season, having been eliminated in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey by Barcelona and last-16 stage of the Champions League by Ajax.

Los Blancos did retain the Club World Cup in the latter stages of 2018 but are facing a trophiless season in terms of La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League.

In terms of what is to come, Madrid will host Eibar and travel to Leganes in their next two after this one, before ending April with games against Athletic Bilbao, Getafe and Rayo Vallecano. May then brings their final three league games against Villarreal, Real Sociedad and Real Betis.

It has been a tough season for the club, but plans are already underway for the 2019-2020 campaign and it is understood that Zidane has a huge budget to improve his squad this summer. Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen and Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe continue to be linked with moves to the Spanish capital as the transfer window draws closer.

For now, though, the capital side must concentrate on finishing the season strongly as they attempt to beat Atletico to second spot in the table.

Recent form: LWLWWW
Recent form (all competitions): LLLWWW


Team News

Thibaut Courtois in action for Real Madrid on September 26, 2018© Reuters

Valencia will once again be without the services of injured pair Cristiano Piccini and Francis Coquelin.

Marcelino has no fresh injury concerns from the win over Sevilla at the weekend, though, and Goncalo Guedes and Carlos Soler should both keep their spots in the team.

As for Madrid, Marcos Llorente made his return from injury against Huesca at the weekend, but the midfielder was absent from Tuesday morning’s training session and is therefore unlikely to feature.

Thibaut Courtois again missed training, meanwhile, meaning that Keylor Navas is expected to get the nod between the sticks, despite Luca Zidane playing against Huesca.

Nacho is suspended, however, which should see Raphael Varane return to the XI. Neither Casemiro nor Marco Asensio featured at the weekend, although both look likely to feature on Wednesday night.

Gareth Bale should keep his spot despite struggling against Huesca, but Lucas Vazquez is another option for Madrid, who are still without injured pair Vinicius Junior and Dani Carvajal.

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Neto; Wass, Garay, Gabriel, Gaya; Soler, Parejo, Kondogbia, Guedes; Rodrigo, Gameiro

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Odriozola, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Casemiro; Bale, Benzema, Asensio


Head To Head

The two teams have locked horns on 162 times throughout history. Madrid lead the head-to-head 84 wins to Valencia’s 43, with the remaining 35 matches finishing level.

Madrid recorded a 2-0 victory in the reverse match earlier this season, while they ran out 4-1 winners when they last travelled to the Mestalla in January 2018.

Valencia’s last home league victory over Los Blancos came in February 2017.


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We say: Valencia 1-1 Real Madrid

Valencia have been on an impressive run of form and will fancy their chances of avoiding defeat on Wednesday night. We expect Los Che to pick up a point against the European champions.


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