What: Spanish La Liga
Who: Valencia vs Real Madrid
When: Sunday 22nd December, 2013, at 20:00 UK Time
Where: Mestalla, Valencia, Spain

Regaining Confidence

Valencia’s 3-0 loss to Atletico Madrid last weekend was to be the final nail in Miroslav Dukic’s coffin as manager of Los Che. The defeat against the current Copa del Rey holders was their eighth loss in 16 league games so far this term, which prompted the board to sack the Serbian coach. 

Under caretaker Nicolas Estevez, they have a chance to pick up the pieces again. However, their task will be extremely hard as they face another strong Madrid side in the space of a week when they welcome Real Madrid to the Mestalla.

The 2004 league champions have failed to win any of the past six games against Los Blancos. That said, midfielder Sergio Canales feels that Valencia have the perfect chance to redeem themselves in front of his former side, who will be a tough test.
“We're in the situation we're in, but when playing against Madrid at home, people will be behind us to win that game. Three points would give us confidence. They are very tough opponents. I do not need to say anything about Madrid. We must take to the pitch humbly and with personal motivation. It is a perfect game to restore confidence and good feelings", he declared.

Escaping a Setback

Disaster was on the brink of occurring for Real Madrid as they seemed on their way to another disappointing away result, 2-0 down to Osasuna on their difficult turf in Pamplona. With Sergio Ramos sent off yet again – his 18th marching orders – one would say that Carlo Ancelotti’s men were lucky to escape with a single point from the game after drawing 2-2. Now they face another potential banana skin in the form of Valencia, who are wounded and eager to impress.

Los Blancos have enjoyed their last four league visits to the Mestalla, winning them all including 5-0 and 6-3 drubbings. However, they were below par against Osasuna, as they have often been on the road this term, and will need to improve their performance against Los Che, according to director Emilio Butragueno.

“Our next league game is crucial because we cannot afford more slip-ups. It will be very complicated given Valencia’s status and they will give everything to satisfy their fans and that complicates things for us”, declared the former leader of the Quinta del Buitre.

Despite being poor on the road, Real Madrid remain undefeated in 14 of their last 15 league away games.


Recent form

Valencia 1-1 Kuban Krasnodar (12/12; Europa League)
Atletico Madrid 3-0 Valencia (15/12; La Liga)
Valencia 2-0 Gimnastic (19/12; Copa del Rey)

Real Madrid:
FC Copenhagen 0-2 Real Madrid (10/12; Champions League)
Osasuna 2-2 Real Madrid (14/12; La Liga)
Real Madrid 2-0 Olimpic de Xativa (18/12; Copa del Rey)

Key absences

Valencia: Ricardo Costa

Real Madrid: Gareth Bale (doubt); Raphael Varane; Sami Khedira; Fabio Coentrao; Pepe (suspended) 

Players to watch

Valencia – Ever Banega: Capable of being a true genius in the middle of the park, Banega will have a tough test ahead of him as he hopes to break up the Real Madrid midfield, which seems to be more harmonious with Xabi Alonso back in the fray.

Real Madrid – Isco: Real Madrid’s summer signing has found his way back in the starting line-up with Sami Khedira’s term-ending injury. Having rediscovered himself after stagnating, he will be keen to shine when he meets his old side.

Match Prediction

Real Madrid usually stutter in games like this one, but Valencia are in a period of flux having lost their manager. Los Blancos will be keen to end the year on a high and they will want to do that with a win at the Mestalla. Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid.

Fancy a bet on Valencia v Real Madrid? Make sure you visit Inside Bet first!