Preview: Valencia vs. Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be aiming to make it three La Liga victories in a row when they continue their 2020-21 campaign with a clash against Valencia at Mestalla on Sunday night.

Los Blancos are currently second in Spain's top flight with 16 points to show from their seven matches, while Valencia occupy 13th spot in the division, having only picked up eight points from as many fixtures.

To suggest that Valencia are currently going through a difficult period would be a slight understatement, with issues behind the scenes now leading to poor results on the field.

Indeed, Los Che have not triumphed in La Liga since the end of September, losing three of their last four to slide down the table into 13th position, just three points outside of the relegation zone.

Head coach Javi Gracia recently revealed that he wants to leave the club and is only remaining in his position due to a contractual obligation, with the Spaniard unhappy that a number of key players were allowed to leave the Mestalla over the summer without replacements arriving.

Geoffrey Kondogbia then accused the club's president Anil Murthy of 'destroying an ambitious project', and the Frenchman subsequently joined Atletico Madrid, meaning that another important figure has left the club, further limiting Gracia's options for change.

Just one point from their last four league matches is an indication of their struggles, and it is difficult to imagine them even matching last season's ninth-place finish, which is an indication of how far the six-time Spanish champions have fallen.

Madrid, meanwhile, have not been without their problems this season, but Zinedine Zidane's side will enter this weekend's contest off the back of two impressive league victories.

Indeed, the reigning champions bounced back from their 1-0 defeat to Cadiz on October 17 by beating Barcelona 3-1 at Camp Nou on October 24, before recording a 4-1 success over Huesca last weekend.

Los Blancos will also enter this match off the back of an incredibly important 3-2 victory over Inter Milan in the Champions League, which was so vital considering the team's poor start to their European campaign.

A record of five wins, one draw and one defeat from seven matches has brought Madrid 16 points in Spain's top flight, leaving them second, one point behind the leaders Real Sociedad with a game in hand.

The capital giants will be determined to put another victory on the board, but they were held to a 1-1 draw by Valencia in the corresponding match last season and have not actually won at Mestalla in Spain's top flight since January 2018.

Valencia La Liga form: DWLLLD

Real Madrid La Liga form: WWWLWW
Real Madrid form (all competitions): LLWDWW

Team News

Valencia will be unable to call upon full-back Thierry Correia on Sunday as the 21-year-old is suspended courtesy of the red card that he picked up against Getafe last time out.

Daniel Wass could therefore move to the right-back position, with Uros Racic potentially coming into the midfield to partner Carlos Soler, leaving Denis Cheryshev on the left.

Madrid are allegedly interested in signing Valencia youngster Yunus Musah, and the teenager is expected to continue in the side this weekend, while Hugo Guillamon should retain his spot in central defence as Mouctar Diakhaby is still on the sidelines through injury.

There could also be an alteration in attack, though, with Goncalo Guedes potentially joining Maxi Gomez as part of a front two, although Kevin Gameiro and Lee Kang-in are also options.

Madrid, meanwhile, will again be without the services of Dani Carvajal, Nacho and Alvaro Odriozola through injury, while Eder Militao is unavailable, having recently tested positive for coronavirus.

Lucas Vazquez is expected to continue at right-back, while Federico Valverde is again likely to be given the nod alongside Casemiro and Toni Kroos in the middle of the park.

Martin Odegaard has stepped up his recovery from a calf problem ahead of the match, and there is a chance that the Norway international could be included in the squad.

Zidane is unlikely to make any surprise decisions in the final third, though, with fit-again Eden Hazard again expected to join Karim Benzema and Marco Asensio as part of a front three.

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Cillessen; Wass, Gabriel, Guillamon, Gaya; Musah, Soler, Racic, Cheryshev; Gomez, Guedes

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Vazquez, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Kroos, Casemiro, Valverde; Hazard, Benzema, Asensio

Source: SportsMole / Matt Law 



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