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Open Thread: January 8, 2022

Our Saturday issue of the daily merengue

Real Madrid Training Session Photo by Victor Carretero/Real Madrid via Getty Images

The Open Thread/Daily Merengue is a place where you can discuss anything and everything related to football. Feel free to discuss the topics presented here, or start your very own discussions! The Open thread will be posted every day by one of the mods: Valyrian Steel, Felipejack, YoSnail, Ezek Ix or NeRObutBlanco.

Matchday!!!

Real Madrid will be looking to return to winning ways in La Liga when they continue their campaign at home to Valencia tonight. They will again be without Dani Carvajal for this match due to a calf problem, while Luka Jovic is out following a positive COVID-19 test.

Mariano Diaz is also unavailable, having picked up a hamstring injury during Wednesday’s Copa del Rey clash, while Gareth Bale is absent, with the Wales international currently struggling with a fitness issue. The good news is that Vinicius Junior is expected to be back in the side, with the Brazil international available once again following a positive COVID-19 test. As for Valencia, Hugo Duro will miss out through suspension, while Gabriel Paulista, Dimitri Foulquier and Toni Lato are unavailable for selection through injury.

Head coach Bordalas has decisions to make, particularly in the final third of the field, with Maxi Gomez potentially being given the nod alongside Goncalo Guedes in attack. Denis Cheryshev, Jose Gaya and Omar Alderete will also be among those to return to the side following the Copa del Rey contest with Cartagena on Wednesday afternoon.

Valencia possible starting lineup: Cillessen; Correia, Diakhaby, Alderete, Gaya; Soler, Guillamon, Wass, Cheryshev; Guedes, Gomez.

There seems to be an ‘anti-vaxxer’ in the squad.

He who shall remain unnamed will not be allowed to travel to Saudi Arabia due to that country’s travel restrictions.

So what’s happening in the other European Leagues.

City to no ones surprise have taken full advantage of slip-ups by other premiership clubs and opened up a 10 point lead over next placed Chelsea. Give them an inch and they will punish you. Man United meanwhile are languishing in 7th having just lost to Wolves.

PSG and Bayern meanwhile have a comfortable lead in their one horse leagues where Balon D’or winner Messi still has 1 goal and Lewandowski 20 goals respectively. That brings us to the Serie A where Simone Inzaghi’s Inter are leading Milan by 1 point, though they have a game in hand. Allegri’s Juve are still out of the top 4 though they have fared better in recent weeks and should secure a top 4 spot by hook or by ‘crook’.