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Real Madrid vs Valencia, 2017 La Liga: Match Preview

Five Finals Remain, Can Los Blancos Take Another Step Towards the Title?

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Valencia CF v Real Madrid CF - La Liga Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

After a whirlwind month, with a draw in the Madrid derby, two victories against Bayern Munich, and a loss in the Clásico, the final round of the April fixture list makes way on Saturday evening against Valencia at the Bernabéu. Valencia got the better of Real Madrid in a 3-2 victory in the reverse fixture which will undoubtedly be on the minds of both the players and Zidane. Madrid are coming off the back of a 6-2 win away to Deportivo, where once again Isco stole the show. The question somehow still remains, will Isco be an undoubted starter given the absence of Gareth Bale? His performances merit the starting birth, but how Zidane tweaks his system will be something to note. We may see a similar diamond tactic and free-flowing movement within the front three like we saw in the home-leg against Bayern Munich, which Isco started. The Malaga-man has admitted himself that he may be in the best form of his career and Real Madrid need to capitalize on his full potential in order to drive them to the La Liga title. The Real Madrid "B" team has impressed time and time again. Not only Isco, but Morata, Asensio, Kovacic, James, and Nacho are looking to burst down the door to the starting line-up. Their performances will certainly give Zidane a selection head-ache.

Valencia have been one of the most inconsistent teams within La Liga. Their form has improved under Voro, as they are safely out of any relegation scrap, but fears lingered for much of the season that they would not pull it together. The Black Bats come into this game off a mid-week 3-2 loss to Real Sociedad away in the Basque Country. Simone Zaza and Joao Cancelo, two players that caused some damage in the reverse fixture, received yellow cards last match and will not be available in the Bernabéu. Valencia have leaked goals all year and their defensive fragility is their biggest flaw. If Madrid are to have success, they should look to draw out Valencia's center backs and penetrate the back line with direct runs in between the gaps. An early goal may open the floodgates, Valencia have been a mentally weak team over the past few years and an early goal will likely break any confidence. Though, Los Che tend to bring out their best for matches against Real Madrid, so Zidane’s men will need to come out and maintain consistent intensity throughout the game.

Five finals remain and Valencia will be no push over in Madrid's quest for their 33rd league title. The game preludes the upcoming Champions League Semi-Final derby match against Atlético, but the focus must remain on Saturday if Los Blancos are to keep their title challenge within their own hands. Expect Zidane to roll out what he believes is his strongest 11, likely the 11 that will also start against Atléti in the mid-week. The Madrid faithful will demand nothing but a win, now is the ultimate test of pressure—can the whites cope?

Projected starting XI:

Real Madrid: Navas; Carvajal; Nacho; Ramos; Marcelo; Casemiro; Kroos; Modric; Isco; Benzema; Ronaldo

Valencia: Alves; Montoya, Garay; Abdennour, Siqueira, Enzo Perez, Dani Parejo, Carlos.Soler, Nani, Orellana, Munir

Prediction: Real Madrid 3 (Isco, Benzema, Ronaldo) - Valencia 1 (Orellana

How to watch Real Madrid vs Valencia

Day: Wednesday, April 26th.

Kick-off time: 21:30 CET, 03:30pm EST.

Venue: Riazor, La Coruña, Spain.

Prediction: Deportivo 1-3 Real Madrid

Available TV: BeIN Sports (USA), BeIN La Liga (Spain).

Available streaming: BeIN Sports Connect (USA), Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a huge offer for new members and Managing Madrid readers).

Staff Predictions

Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Result (1) Score (2) Goal Scorers (3) Total Score
Om RM Win 2-1 CR7, Ramos; Higuaín 42
Kiyan RM Win 3-1 Benz, CR7, Asensio; Pjanic 45
Timm RM Win 2-1 (RM win extra time) CR7, Ramos; Dybala 41
Mike - - - 34
Lucas RM Loss 1-2 CR7; Higuaín, Dybala 26
Nate RM Win 4-2 -CR7x2, Bale, Morata; Higuain, Dybala 47
Marc - - - 3
Lewis - - - 10
Tommy RM Loss 1-2 Benz; Higuaín, Mandzukic 19
Naguib RM Win 2-0 CR7, Bale 29
Vicki - - - 1
Ondra RM Win 2-0 CR7, Ramos 18
Jack RM Win 2-2 (RM win on pk's 4-3) CR7, Ramos; Dybala x2 6
Matt RM Win 1-0 CR7 8
Sam RM Win 2-1 - 1
José RM Win 3-1 CR7 x2, Morata; Mandzukic 3

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