Real Madrid have had a pretty rough week. After demolishing Deportivo in a 7-1 win last Sunday, they were kicked out of the Copa Del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday. Real now must dig deep this weekend as they travel to the Mestalla Stadium in Valencia as they face a team that is higher on the standings than them.
Real, currently in 4th place, hold 35 points with Villarreal and Sevilla nipping at their heels. Valencia sit 5 points ahead of Real in 3rd with 40 points on the season. An outright win for Los Blancos is absolutely necessary if they want to distance themselves from the pack and attempt to get a top 3 spot, perhaps. It won’t be easy, but this is absolutely a must-win situation at this point in a disappointing season.
The injury list just seems to keep adding names yet again this season. It was announced earlier on Friday that Isco is now the latest player to be injured on the Real roster after sustaining a hip injury.
Sergio Ramos is also missing the Valencia match on Saturday, an injury that’s caused him to miss the past few weeks of action already after aggravating his calf.
Real released their squad Friday morning and it should set up the 4-3-3 formation that we saw last Sunday against Deportivo. On Wednesday, many of the starters, including Ronaldo, sat in the loss to Leganes in favor of some of the youngsters, where I predicted the full XI would play and was wrong. I think it’s safe to say the whole squad will play in this critical Valencia match, outside of Ramos and Isco of course.
Navas; Carvajal, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Ronaldo, Benzema
After Mayoral started against Deportivo, it’s likely Benzema is going to take his spot back at striker. Nacho will be in for Ramos once again. It’s very possible Isco was going to sit for this match in favor of the 4-3-3 and the reuniting of the BBC again, so no real changes there other than who comes off the bench. Speaking of substitutions, Llorente, Asensio, Kovacic, Mayoral, and Vasquez are all in the squad and 3 of them will be coming off the bench.
Neto; Gaya, Garaya, Coquelin, Montoya; Guedes, Kondogbia, Parejo, Maksimovic; Rodrigo, Zaza
The positive here for Real is Valencia is missing both of their starting centerbacks due to suspension. Which is where ex-Arsenal and newly acquired midfielder Francis Coquelin will likely fill in as a CB. Real need to try and exploit this.
2-0 Real Madrid-Valencia
While I do think the 4-3-3 will be effective yet again, I would think Valencia will be keen to park the bus and force Real to try and break it. Real have to capitalize on their chances and can’t afford to draw or lose here. They have the advantage of playing against a weakened defense here, so they need to make it count. One thing is certain, if the score is going to be 0-0 the whole match, Real cannot afford to give up a late go-ahead goal to Valencia. They’ve done that a couple times this season and it’s costed them points. However , I do think Real will get at least a couple of goals and they’ll continue rolling on in La Liga. Hopefully, Ronaldo will come back even more hungrier for goals after scoring 2 against Deportivo and being rested against Leganes.
HOW TO WATCH, STREAM LA LIGA
Time: 16:15 CET, 10:15am EST, 07:15 am Pacific.
Venue: Mestalla, Valencia, Spain.
Available Streaming: BeIN Sports (USA),Fubo.TV (EVERY Real Madrid game with a high-quality and legal stream, click here to sign up and benefit from a discount for new members and Managing Madrid readers).