Real Madrid host managerless Valencia on Thursday with the hosts aware they must secure victory to try and keep up with rivals Barcelona at the top of La Liga.
Barca, who go to Real Betis on Wednesday, could be eight points clear by the time Los Blancos welcome Valencia to the Santiago Bernabeu, but Carlo Ancelotti’s side should be able to stay in title contention by eventually securing a much-needed home win.
Valencia sacked Gennaro Gattuso after just over seven months in charge at the start of the week, with his exit coming with Los Che sitting just a point and four places above the relegation zone and following a run of three defeats out of four in the league and just one win in six games in all competitions.
Former interim coach Salvador Gonzalez Marco, known as ‘Voro’, has been placed in temporary charge again ahead of the daunting trip to the capital.
Real Madrid vs Valencia Betting Tips
- Draw/Real Madrid – Half-time/Full-time @ 16/5
- #PickYourPunt – Real Madrid 3 Or More Corners In Each Half @ 6/4
Defenders Lucas Vazquez, Daniel Carvajal, Ferland Mendy and David Alaba are all set to be absent for Real with Mendy recently added to the injury list and set to be out for around two months with a hamstring injury.
With a bit of an ongoing defensive injury crisis, midfielder Eduardo Camavinga may be asked to deputise at left-back again, while in midfield Aurelien Tchouameni is expected to recover from a calf injury to start.
Interim boss Voro may opt to make several changes as he looks to try and get Los Che moving in the right direction after their recent poor run of form.
Valencia will be without midfielder Nicolas Gonzalez, who has a foot injury, full-back Thierry Correia is doubtful again with an unspecified problem, while reserve goalkeeper Jaume Domenech is on the long-term absentee list due to a knee ligament injury.
Draw/Real Madrid – Half-time/Full-time @ 16/5
Real approach the Valencia clash in good form overall, winning four of their last six games in all competitions – a run that includes a penalty-kicks success over Los Che in the Spanish Super Cup in Saudi Arabia semi last month.
Their one defeat – the subsequent 3-1 Super Cup final loss to Barca – blots their copybook, while the goalless draw at the weekend at home to Real Sociedad was a frustrating evening.
Goals have not exactly flowed for Ancelotti’s side in recent weeks, especially not in the first half of matches. They have not scored more than twice in any of their last seven league games and have only registered two first-half goals in their last six matches overall.
Clearly, they are somewhat slow starters at the minute, instead building into games, and it could be more of the same on Thursday with Draw/Real in the HT/FT market appealing at what looks like good value at 16/5.
#PickYourPunt – Real Madrid 3 Or More Corners In Each Half @ 6/4
Real won 10 corners at the weekend, five per half, when they were pushing for a goal against Sociedad and it figures they should be able to notch up at least three in each half against a struggling Valencia side.
Ancelotti’s men were awarded seven in total in the previous 3-1 home win over Atletico in the cup, and, tellingly, got eight corners overall the last time they faced Valencia last month in that Supercoppa win on pens, with three coming in the first half and the rest after the break and in extra-time.