After becoming World Champions and having enjoyed a well deserved Christmas break, Los Blancos get back to serious work tomorrow. A new league game in Mestalla, one of the hardest venues to conquer in Spain, will be their first challenge after the friendly game they lost against AC Milan in Dubai, on December 29th.
Real Madrid, still on top of the table even with a postponed game to be played in February, face Valencia CF, currently 5th, who are doing a fantastic job under Nuno Espírito Santo. History tells us that playing in Mestalla is usually quite hard for Real Madrid, since the chés and their fans are particularly motivated against Los Blancos, but we should expect an even tougher competition ahead of us, as their home record consists of six wins (including Atlético de Madrid), a draw and a single loss (against FC Barcelona) this season.
The tactical versatility displayed by their coach may be the main reason behind Valencia's fantastic performances this season. They do not hesitate to change their style in order to exploit their rival's weaknesses and minimize the importance of theirs, and they have won a big amount of points thanks to that. It is hard to guess what their stance against us will be tomorrow, but they will for sure show a very solid defence and fast transitions. Their recent signing Enzo Pérez will likely make his debut tomorrow, joining men like Parejo or Andre Gomes in the midfield.
As Ancelotti stated, this will not be a decisive game for this team's fate, but it would be very important to start the month with a victory to face Atlético in good shape. Sergio Ramos and Marcelo, who took part in today's training session, finally made it into a 21-man squad list and could start the game tomorrow. However, given that Ancelotti normally calls 19 players, it seems that their participation is still unclear. Other than those, there don't seem to be any doubts on the starting lineup for tomorrow's game.
<span class="wtb-ew-v1" style="width: 560px; display:inline-block"><script src="http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/event_widget.js?h=2509954&md=1/4/2015&mt=17.00&ml=1.83&sts=0&sln=0&wt=ew-ltc"></script><i><a target="_blank" href="http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/">Time converter</a> at worldtimebuddy.com</i><noscript><a href="http://www.worldtimebuddy.com/">Time converter</a> at worldtimebuddy.com</noscript><script>window[wtb_event_widgets.pop()].init()</script></span>
TV Information: Canal + Liga & GolT (Spain), beIN Sports USA (USA), Sky Sports 5 (UK), others.
Projected lineup: Casillas; Carvajal, Pepe, Varane, Coentrao; Kroos, Isco, James; Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo.
Prediction: Valencia 1 - 2 Real Madrid (goals by Ronaldo and Bale).