The La Liga will resume back into action this weekend after a blistering and dramatic start to the 2021/22 edition. The fans have returned to the stadiums and it’s a big sigh of relief for the clubs who are reeling under huge economic losses as well as the fans who have missed watching their favorite clubs play in front of them for so long. And today it’s a clash between the two table toppers in the LaLiga currently. League leaders Real Madrid are squaring off against second-placed Valencia at the Mestalla Stadium on Sunday night. Both the teams have collected 10 points from their 4 assignments so far and have remained unbeaten till now.
Real Madrid has been in a great run of form since the start of the season. The Los Blancos will be looking forward to continuing that unbeaten run on a permanent basis as well as cementing their place at the top of the La Liga table. Ancelotti has a big task cut out as Madrid has won only once in the past seven years at Mestalla.
Meanwhile, Valencia is also level with Madrid on 10 points and sits comfortably in second place. They have registered some convincing wins in the Spanish top flight and are looking well-composed this year. Everyone knows Bordalas’ men have the ability and firepower in their ranks to upset big teams on their day. They’ll be certainly looking to hold on to that second spot with a win. So, with much at stake, these two teams go head-to-head with an aim to become the league leaders. Let’s see who dodges the others in this high-voltage contest.
Why to watch out this clash
There is no reason in the world that can stop you from watching a mouthwatering LaLiga clash on a Sunday night. Two of the current pacesetters of Spain’s top-domestic league are going to fight it out for the first-place. Real Madrid has missed out on winning LaLiga by the finest of margins last year. They won’t certainly let it go this year and will go all out to win the league. The Madrid giants had endured a trophyless last season and so have set their sights on winning big. With the incoming of Alaba and Camavinga, they have strengthened their squad and have relied much on youth. Against Valencia, the visitors would surely try to break the jinx and win it again to remain on top with 13points.
Valencia, the surprise toppers of the LaLiga now have looked quite solid in the matches they have played till now. Bordalas have done a great job with the team and has brought in significant improvement as compared to last year. They had a disastrous last season and ended it placed at a lowly13th on the table. The Los Ches will look for a top-six finish this year under their new coach. They have a promising squad that has the ability to do giant killings on any given day. The match is scheduled to get kicked off at 00:30 IST or 20:00 CET.
The Los Blancos are traveling to Valencia after coming off from a relieving 1-0 win away to Inter at SanSiro. It was a quite convincing win for the Blancos as they continued their splendid away record in Italy. An excellent Rodrygo volley from close range from French wonderkid Camavinga’s cross gave the Spanish side the full three points. The whole game was dominated by Madrid though Inter was superior in the first half. The Madrid side kept about 53% possession of the ball but was a bit less creative in the attacking third. They could only manage a meager 2 shots towards the opposition goal compared to Inter’s five. But offensively Ancelotti’s side had been so good throughout and you can easily expect them to rectify their mistakes. But the most credible thing is that they have managed to keep a dangerous Inter attack at bay.
They have kept a clean sheet after a long time and it would boost their confidence in the upcoming matches. Alaba and Militao have kept a clean sheet in both the matches they have played together. Courtois had been excellent throughout the Inter game and pulled off a string of mind-blowing saves to save Madrid. In La Liga, they defeated Celta Vigo last week 5-2 quite dominantly. A Karim Benzema hat-trick coupled with Vinicius’s solo goal and debutant Camavinga’s strike gave them a comfortable win. It remains to be seen if they can keep up the same intensity and win their next game against Valencia.
The Los murciélagos are coming onto this match after a commanding win over Osasuna in Gameweek 4. They hit four past them with strikers from Carlos Soler, Goncalo Guedes, Maxi Gomez giving them all three points. It was their second big win on the trot, registering 7 goals and conceding only one. Their defense has been exceptional and is the second least goal conceding side in LaLiga right now. Against Osasuna, they couldn’t master the possession and kept only 44% possession of the ball. They took 11shots towards the opposition goal and five of them were on target, four of which resulted in the goal. The conversion rate among their forwards was astonishing and the impact each time they produced on the field was good too.
Undoubtedly, Bordalas’ able guidance has made the best out of his players come out. The midfield is also aptly led by the experienced duo of Soler and Wass. There are a lot of impactful players in the squad whose presence makes the team look so dangerous at times. Now, it is only to be seen whether the Bats can do well against the big teams. If they succeed in this hurdle, they can be tipped to finish within the top six this season. All is to be played for at their home ground where they welcome the European giants on Sunday. Expect a competitive performance from this squad.
Injuries and Real Madrid have been synonymous from last season and it’s nothing different this year. Right from the start, they have been plagued by injuries. Star midfielder Toni Kroos has still not recovered from his sports hernia. Ferland Mendy’s have been sidelined for three weeks more as confirmed by the medical team. Marcelo and Gareth Bale will also miss the trip to Mestalla because of their chronic injuries. Dani Ceballos hasn’t still got up from the ankle injury he suffered in the Olympics. Apart from these players, Ancelotti has a fit squad to choose his starting XI.
Bordalas won’t have much to ponder for before playing against Real. Denis Cheryshev will have to sit out of the clash as he picked up a knee problem recently. It is expected to rule him out till October. Cristiano Piccini continues to remain on the sidelines. Other than these, there are no injury concerns in the team.
Head to Head
The two sides have faced each other 20 times till date. Madrid has the upper hand in it with 10 wins out of the total in their bag. Valencia has won six and the other four ended in a stalemate. The latest meeting between the two teams ended in a 2-0 Victory for the Blancos. Kroos starred in that match scoring one and setting up the other.
Players to watch out for
The Frenchman has evolved in these years to become Madrid’s go-to man now. He has started the season in swashbuckling form starring in every single game for the Los Blancos. His presence in the squad has become so important that he literally gets any rest now. He already has found the back of the net 5 times and provided 4 assists too in only five appearances. He is a fox in the box and also drops deep to create a play in the attacking third. His aerial supremacy and physicality are also a plus point. Ancelotti would hope that his star man again comes out with a top-class performance against Valencia.
If someone wants to find an exact replica of the Great Wall of China, he may come to Madrid and see this Belgian superstar. The tall custodian has turned out to be the savior in every single match for Madrid with his inhuman saves. Against Inter, he also saved four certain goals. Since 2019, he has been consistent over the years and performed superbly every time when it mattered the most. In Courtois, Ancelotti knows that he has a keeper in which he can trust blindly and can makeup defensive mistakes too. Once again against the Los murciélagos, Madrid fans want him to be impenetrable and keep a clean sheet.
The young Spaniard has been the undisputed star of Valencia’s winning campaign. He has produced phenomenal performances and has given excellent contributions in each game for his team. No wonder that his presence in the field is a dangerous threat for the opposition. In the only four starts he made, he has recorded an impressive 3 goals and 2 assists. He is definitely Bordalas’ main man and he would hope Soler delivers another decent performance today.
The Portuguese forward has been in sensational form since the start of the new season for the Bats. He has already notched up 2 goals and 1 assist for them. Nevertheless, he has turned out to be a dependable man for Bordalas in the attacking third. His blistering pace is also an invaluable asset to them. Against Madrid, Bordalas would hope that his star forward polishes his scoring boots once again.
In all aspects, this match is going to be an enticing and entertaining one for the viewers. In this battle for the top spot, both the teams are expected to play some real quality football. Expect a fierce and enthralling encounter between the two sides. Don’t miss even an inch of action!! Will Ancelotti’s high-flying Madrid continue their winning streak or can Valencia upset their party? Tune into the match to find it out.
For more such articles do click here