Real Madrid and Valencia are up for an enticing clash at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano. This clash takes place on eve of Valentine’s day. While the whole world would be spending their time with their loved ones. The Los Blancos can’t afford to do so as they aim to reduce the gap between them and La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid. The Los Blancos are currently 2nd on the table with 46 points from 22 matches. While Valencia is way down at no.12 on 24 points from as many games.
Head to Head
On the last five encounters that Real Madrid and Valencia faced each other. The results were 2 wins for the Madridians and 2 for the Bats and one turned out to be a stalemate between the two sides with the score tied at 1-1.
The last showdown in La Liga between these sides saw Valencia came off Real Madrid with a shock 4-1 win. Valencia did not score a single goal from open play. Out of 4, three came from the penalty spot by Carlos Soler and one was an own goal by Real Madrid Centre back Varane. Prior to that game, Real was on a run of two back-to-back victories. They were unbeaten in three consecutive Head head clashes. Just two of the previous fifteen encounters were won by the visiting sides and on both occasions, it was Los Blancos who triumphed away from home.
Real Madrid is coming on the back of a morale-boosting 2-0 win over Getafe. The French prolific duo of Karim Benzema and Ferland Mendy was on target as it gave the hosts a very comfortable win. They were attractive throughout the match. Zidane played with a brand new formation of 3-4-3 making Ferland Mendy play at a specialist defender position and having Marcelo and Marvin Park as two wing-backs. Marcelo starred in that position with one assist and was lively throughout the game creating a flurry of chances.
Valencia, on the other hand, plays this match after drawing against 11th placed Athletic Club. They conceded an early own goal from Hugo Guillamoñ. Another defender Gabriel scored for the bats with an assist from Patrick Cutrone. The defensive duo was attractive throughout the match and Real Madrid has a task cut out against them. Carlos Soler and Jose Luiz Gaya were also worth mentioning throughout the match and it earned Valencia a draw.
The Los Blancos probably now have the most first-team players out due to injury. If one starts telling, it would end up being more lengthier than any other big team currently playing in Europe.
From the ever injury-prone Eden Hazard to Real Madrid’s Mr. dependable Sergio Ramos, who is out due to a knee injury. There are quite more regular first-team players who are nursing their injuries like Rodrygo, Eder Militao, Federico Valverde, Alvaro Odriozola, Marcelo. While Daniel Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez have returned to training and have been passed fit to play the game. There remains doubt whether they would have 100% physical fitness to play the game. Also, it remains to see whether Zidane opts for either of the two. Toni Kroos returns from suspension and he would be able to compete in the match.
Injuries:- Sergio Ramos, Eder Militao, Marcelo, Fede Valverde, Eden Hazard ,Alvaro Odriozola, Rodrygo
The Bats will also miss the services of a few key players due to injuries and suspension. Forward Denis Cheryshev, defenders Eliaquim Mangala and Mouctar Diakhaby, Right Back Cristiano Piccini, and Goal Keeper Jasper Cillessen will all miss this key clash due to injuries. Meanwhile, Hugo Guillamon, who scored an own goal and picked up a yellow card in the previous match vs Athletic Club will remain suspended for the match. Valencia coach Javi Garcia will be sweating over the fitness of central midfielder Carlos Soler who has starred this season before picking up a knock in the last game.
Injuries:- Jasper Cillessen, Mouctar Diakhaby, Eliaquim Mangala, Cristiano Piccini
Suspended:- Hugo Guillamoñ
Team Tactics and Lineups
Zidane will be boosted by the return of Daniel Carvajal and Lucas Vazquez to training. Marcelo, who picked up an injury in the last match. He will also be enlightened with the return of Toni Kroos from suspension. It remains unclear whether Zizou will opt for Lucas Vazquez or Daniel Carvajal, both returning from injuries, for that elusive right-back position. Though he played with a new formation against Getafe, he is expected to stick to his favored 4-3-3 formation tonight in the showdown against Valencia.
Javi Garcia does not have much to pick among his available players for this fixture. He wouldn’t face any selection dilemma ahead of the match. He would be definitely hoping for ace midfielder Carlos Soler to be ready before the match as he has given Valencia much breakthrough this season. Due to the unavailability of Hugo Guillamoñ, Garcia is forced to bring on Ferro in place of him. Besides this, no other significant changes to the starting lineup are expected to take place than the one faced Athletic club in their last match.
Players to watch out for
1) Karim Benzema
The French striker has been in prolific form this season already scoring 11 goals this season. He has been a fox in the box and has also notched up 5 assists since the start of La Liga. He also scored in the Los Blancos’s last win over Getafe and is expected to continue his scoring form.
If it comes to deliver inch-perfect crosses and passes and also slotting home some wonder free kicks, no one is better than Kroos in doing this kind of business. He remained suspended in the match against Getafe and is intended to make a comeback against VALENCIA. The German has already delivered 4 assists till now.
The midfield maestro of the Bats, Carlos Soler has seen a breakthrough season for him. He has just dominated the midfield for Valencia this season and has scored a whopping 6 goals for them. From Controlling the whole central play to delivering inch-perfect passes, Soler has done everything apart from giving 5 assists already.
4)Jose Luiz Gaya
The left-back is enjoying an excellent season at the Bats and has been on the top of his form with top clubs already keeping an eye over him. He has already given 4 assists and has been dominant in delivering impeccable crosses to the strikers. This is why he is so important for the bats.
This match could prove to be an entertaining match to watch. As both, the teams are aiming to increase their point tally and go up the la Liga table. The Los Blancos would be hoping to reduce their gap between La Liga leaders Atletico and them. They would be hoping for their star players to come and deliver on the big stage and be a bit consistent. For Valencia, it’s all about getting 3 points and climbing up the table.
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