As we already analyzed in Valencia's scouting report, Real Madrid will be facing a team without a clear structure. While the Mediterranean team has been scoring some goals thanks to Jonas' wonderful season, their defensive line is struggling and should have their hands full against Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and the rest of Real Madrid's firepower.
Still, it should be noted that Pepe and Gareth Bale will be missing the game. Sergio Ramos was expected to be out as well after his double yellow card against Osasuna, but the Spanish Federation decided to withdraw his first yellow card after reviewing and checking the video evidence that Ramos never hit the Osasuna player. Therefore, Carlo Ancelotti will start Nacho and Ramos in the middle of the defense, with Marcelo playing left fullback and Carvajal and Arbeloa fighting for the remaining spot on the right. Carvajal has been providing a much-needed offensive presence on that wing, and with Gareth Bale missing the game, Ancelotti might prefer to give Carvajal the start to have a more dangerous threat in that wing.
The Italian coach is trusting the Alonso-Modric-Isco midfield lately. That provides more creativity and control, but Alonso and his defensive teammates usually miss Sami Khedira's workrate. Neither Isco nor Modric are that kind of player, but Valencia is not a very physical team, so both playmakers should be balanced enough to dominate Banega, Parejo, Romeu and company.
As always, if Real's defense plays well enough, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema should be enough to get the three points, especially against Víctor Ruiz, Mathieu, Barragán and Guardado. Valencia have a very mediocre defensive line that will certainly struggle against Real Madrid's ability to find open space with Benzema and Ronaldo's moves and runs.
It will be really important to end this 2013 with a win in Mestalla. Although Valencia is not that good of a team now, this is still a rivalry match that will encourage the fans at the stadium. If Real Madrid know how to play with the crowd's feelings towards Valencia, it should be easy for them to get the three points and get los chés out of their own minds. But careful, Valencia will surely try to start this new project off on the right foot and it could be hard to make a comeback if they get the lead.