Fresh from their Copa del Rey midweek blows, La Liga top-four contenders Valencia and Real Madrid go head to head in a battle that could possibly signal the end of the road for Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane.
Years of chaos, conflict and aimless roaming seems to be well behind Valencia who continue their revival under the guidance of manager Marcelino Garcia Toral.
Los Che have been going from strength to strength over the past few months and their high-flying form is no longer considered a flash in the pan but a well-deserved reward for hard work and dedication. Having become the eighth manager to sit at the Valencia helm in Peter Lim’s reign at one of Spain’s biggest clubs, Marcelino took a challenge he was presented with by the scruff of the neck to lift Valencia to the very top of Spanish football. With 40 points to their name after 20 rounds of action in La Liga, Los Che are sitting third in the standings, five points clear of their Saturday’s rivals. The five-point advantage over Real Madrid will give Los Che a breathing space and allow them to play with less pressure. Los Che head into the high-profile clash against Real Madrid on the back of Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Alaves during the week. It was the second set-back in less than a week’s time knowing that Valencia recorded a 2-1 defeat at Las Palmas last weekend in La Liga and Marcelino’s men will be keen to get back to winning ways in the best possible way when Real Madrid arrive in town.
Gabriel and Vezo are suspended for the match whereas Jimenez, Murillo and Soler remain sidelined with injuries.
Zidane Under Pressure
Zinedine Zidane took full responsibility for Real Madrid’s shocking Copa del Rey elimination at the hands of Leganes. Spain’s minnows fought bravely for a mind-blowing 2-1 win at Santiago Bernabeu which saw Los Blancos suffer their second defeat in last four matches.
The French boss is under fire and another Real Madrid defeat could prove to be lethal for his future at the helm. Zidane admitted his job is on the line but recent reports claim that Los Blancos will not rush into sacking and will give him a prolonged chance with his future resting on the Champions League. Sitting gapping 19 points behind leaders Barcelona in La Liga standings, reigning Spanish champions are paying a dear price for lack of form which is said to have come as a direct result of Zidane’s poor tactical choices. The French legend has refused to change his system and squad selection despite the obvious lack of form his key players Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Real Madrid boss fielded a combined squad for his side’s Copa del Rey elimination and is likely to bring Luka Modric, Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale back to the team. Los Blancos have a clean bill of health with Cristiano Ronaldo expected to return despite the facial injury he sustained against Deportivo.
Real Madrid suffered a 2-1 blow last time these two sides met in Valencia. Such a scenario could have huge repercussions for the visiting side who are in desperate need of a win in order to put the Copa del Rey disappointment behind them as soon as possible.
Top pick: Both teams to score – yes 1.42 (5/12) @10Bet
Alternative pick 1: Under 3.5 goals 1.95 (20/21) @BetVictor
Alternative pick 2: Valencia Draw no Bet 3.9 (29/10) @Unibet