Real Madrid isn't in great shape away from home. That's why Mourinho's team is currently 11 points behind FC Barcelona. If Madrid doesn't want to give up on La Liga, they will have to win in Valladolid without starting left back Fábio Coentrao.
Valladolid is playing great. If we add Coentrao's injury to that, Real Madrid could once again have a very difficult game to play away from home (20:00 CET). Furthermore, the team will need to visit Celta Vigo this upcoming Wednesday for the first game of Copa del Rey's next round. The atmosphere could be very cold in Valladolid (one of the coldest cities in Spain), but if Real Madrid confirms its improvements, the recently-promoted team shouldn't stand a chance against one of the best rosters in European football.
But, that thing applied against Betis, when the Andalusian team managed to beat los blancos 1-0. It seems that while Real Madrid was very comfortable away from home last year and Barcelona struggled, the opposite is happening in this 2012-2013 season. Barcelona started suffering against Osasuna, but Real Madrid's defeats against Getafe, Sevilla and Betis are something the fans weren't used to see.
As you could read on our Valladolid Scouting Report, Real Madrid should try to defend well on the counterattacks if they want to prevent Valladolid from scoring. It's still not clear whether Mourinho will start Nacho on one of the defensive wings to maintain Pepe and Ramos' partnership in the center. That way, Ramos would be away from the right back, a position he shouldn't be playing for the rest of his career. Nacho delivered quite well in the left back against Ajax, but he seems more comfortable playing on the right. Mourinho could move Arbeloa to the left just to let the young defender be more comfortable in what could be his first serious match with the first team.
Essien also made the cut after his allergic reaction. The African midfielder fits well in this kind of matches, he showed that when Real Madrid visited Rayo Vallecano. His return will likely be on the Copa del Rey match against Celta, though. Real Madrid shouldn't have that much pressure in that fixture, so it would be a perfect game for him to rejoin the squad.
Luka Modric excelled against Ajax. Real Madrid fans are begging to see Mesut Özil back on the right wing just to see both Modric and the German playmaker together. That way, Di María would stay on the bench. El Fideo is going through one of his worst moments with the club, but it will be key for Mourinho to recover him as soon as possible. He always works hard on the defensive end, but if he played like he did during the first three months of last season, Real Madrid would have a valuable threat offensively once again.
The team needs to start winning away from the Bernabéu if they want to have a shot at La Liga.
Who will win the game?
Valladolid (3 votes)
Draw (2 votes)
Real Madrid (44 votes)
49 total votes