Real Madrid return to La Liga action with a good chance to go top of the table in a road match at the José Zorrilla on Sunday.
Real can capitalize on Barcelona’s 2-0 loss to Valencia and finally take a lead against the Blaugrana in the league table with a win over Valladolid.
This is the second time these two clubs will face after meeting back in August. That match ended in a 1-1 draw in the early stages of this season.
Valladolid hasn’t won a league match in a month, they’re a club that draws a lot. That has the club placed 15th in the La Liga table. They also just got bounced out of the Copa del Rey this week by Segunda División side Tenerife.
Real are still second and tied on points with Barcelona. Of course, a draw or win would put them ahead for first. The club also played midweek against Unionistas, a win where Zidane rested several starters ahead of Sunday’s match.
Real Madrid are without Gareth Bale again, who re-injured himself in the Unionistas match. Luckily it is only a minor sprain, according to Zidane. The club is still without Eden Hazard and Marco Asensio. Vinicius and Brahim have also been left off the released match squad.
Valladolid will be without forward Stiven Plaza.
Dani Carvajal is the lone suspension for Sunday’s match.
Masip; Antoñito, Joaquín, Kiko, Salisu, García; Fede, Michel, Alcaraz; Ünal, Guardiola
Courtois; Nacho, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Valverde, Casemiro, Kroos, Isco; Rodrygo, Benzema
With Carvajal suspended and Odriozola now on loan to Bayern, Nacho will likely fill in the empty right back spot.
With both Bale and Vinicius not options, Isco could play the 10 role behind Benzema and Rodrygo. Zidane could also go with Modric and Isco behind Benzema instead of starting Rodrygo. There’s a few options that could be entertained against Valladolid.
Real Valladolid—Real Madrid 1-3
This is a huge match for Real Madrid in terms of the league table. With Barcelona losing already, they can jump ahead in first as much as 3 points if they take an away win. Valladolid are tricky, they force results and have already drawn once with Real Madrid this season. Valladolid have also not lost at home since the end of November.
Real, meanwhile, haven’t lost in their last 18 matches across all competitions. While a draw here would put them ahead of Barcelona still, they really need a win to get a decent lead in what has been an incredibly tight title race for both clubs this season. So a win, especially on the road, would be one of the biggest wins of the La Liga season for Real.
Needless to say, Real need to play their best on Sunday if they hope to start pulling away from Barcelona in this war for the top league spot. And, they need to cap it off with an away win.