Another action-packed weekend of action comes from Europe’s top divisions this weekend. We start on Thursday in Spain, where reigning La Liga champions Real Madrid welcome Valencia. The hosts haven’t been at their best this season and appear to be struggling under the pressure of having Barcelona back somewhere near their best. Madrid was the firm favorite, with respected pundits to win the title this year. They may still achieve this, but there’s plenty of work to be done to get the champions back into contention.
Los Blancos start the week five points off the pace set by Barcelona after winning just one of their last three. They collected four of the nine points available to them in that period, and everyone connected to the club knows that’s nowhere near good enough. It’s not the form of a champion or a team that looks destined to lift the league title in spring. A major improvement is needed from the players as the transfer window is now complete until the summer break. What can we expect from Real Madrid in this match?
If you are one of the millions of football fans who like to rely on the stats and trends when making predictions on league matches, you’ll be glad to know there’s plenty to work with here. We could be in for another high-scoring game after these sides scored a combined eight goals in the two La Liga meetings last term. Flicking through the results, we also note that both teams have scored at least one goal in each of their last three meetings, which is also true in seven of their last ten. Fancy more of the same? Keep reading as our team of football writers breaks this one down for you, using the form of both to make a prediction.
Madrid has one win in three
Real Madrid are the home team for this match and will enjoy the backing of their support, but only while things go according to plan. The club’s fans are used to success and entered this season expecting another title win. It was expected that Barca would be stronger than they were in the previous campaign, but few La Liga fans expected them to challenge for the title. Perhaps that arrogance will come back to bite Blancos? It’s possible, but Madrid is an experienced team and this isn’t the first time many of these players have been put under pressure by Barcelona.
The home team enters this latest test with their stats for this season showing 13 wins, three draws and two defeats. The champions have already found the net 38 times, making them the league’s top scorers at this stage, but they have conceded 16 and that’s where the problems lie. When you consider Barca have scored one goal less but conceded 10 fewer goals, the league table starts to make a bit more sense. Real isn’t a team known for giving away cheap goals, but fixing that problem has become a priority for the coaching staff. Much better is required in defence and everyone connected to the club knows that to be true.
The hosts have won just one of their last three La Liga outings, with that unconvincing run of form including a draw and defeat. They suffered a defeat but bounced back to grab a win which many thought would help steady the ship and begin Madrid’s fightback. But two points dropped in their last game was another major disappointment. Madrid were at home and expected to beat Real Sociedad, although things didn’t go to plan with the match ending goalless. The clean sheet is an improvement for the defence, but not scoring at home against Sociedad and dropping two points is criminal for a team with Real’s ambitions of winning the league again.
Valencia struggle for positives
Few predicted that Valencia would challenge for the La Liga title this season – and they won’t – but most followers of La Liga expected them to be in the top half of the table, holding hopes of grabbing a European finish. That isn’t the case and we must drop to 14th of 20 to find Valencia who are closer to being relegated than they are to winning the title. They are another team seeking improvement, but Madrid isn’t the easiest place to go when a win is required and the visitors know they have a fight on their hands.
They away team are winless in their last four league starts, taking just one points from the last dozen available. They have lost three of their last four and that barren spell has sucked them into danger. Valencia must get their campaign back on the rails before any more damage is done to the season. Stats of five wins, five draws and eight defeats tells its own story. They have scored 25 and conceded 21 goals.
We last saw Valencia in action a week ago when losing 1-0 away to Real Valladolid. Things haven’t been going well, but that was one of the most disappointing performances of the season by Valencia. If they play like they did against Valladolid when in Madrid, things may turn ugly. They must be ready to meet their hosts head-on, while keeping calm in defence. The longer this match lasts at 0-0, the most frustrated the home fans will become.
Real Madrid v Valencia prediction
How will this game play out? Will we see Real Madrid bounce back to winning ways or will Valencia get the points needed to ease the pressure on themselves? Madrid are the locals playing catch-up and that should be enough to see them nail the three points, but only if they are at their best. They must build on the cleansheet achieved in the previous match, but also take their chances.
La Liga odds
The pre-match betting odds available to 22bet members has Real Madrid at 1.42 with Valencia trading at 7 and the draw at 4.82.
Make sure to bet on Real Madrid v Valencia with 22Bet!