Back Los Che To Cause Trouble At Bernebeu
Real Madrid v Valencia
Time is running out for Real Madrid to overtake Barcelona in the Spanish title race and anything less than a win against Valencia on Saturday will almost definitely spell the end of their hopes of La Liga glory this season.
Tuesday night’s fiercely contested Champions League semi-final first leg defeat to Juventus in Turin was a first loss in nine games for Real.
The last time Carlo Ancelotti’s side failed to pick up maximum points in a league game was at the Nou Camp in late March and that 2-1 loss could prove pivotal at the end of the season as it allowed Barcelona to establish a lead over Los Merengues they still maintain, with Real now counting on others to take points off their bitter rivals if they’re to overturn the two-point deficit. Real have suffered only one loss and dropped only five points in total at the Bernabeu all season.
Following a hat-trick at Sevilla last weekend, Cristiano Ronaldo leads Lionel Messi by two goals in the annual two-horse race that has become La Liga’s golden boot contest with an astonishing tally of 42 league strikes and 54 in total for the World Player of the Year.
With only one defeat in 14 matches, which also came away to Barcelona, Valencia remain in the driving seat to finish in the final Champions League qualification spot thanks to their three-point advantage over Sevilla heading into this weekend’s fixtures.
A 3-1 win over Eibar last weekend kept their cushion intact with six more points guaranteeing a top four finish thanks to their better head to head record against Sevilla, although there will be concern over their away record, which is worst of any of the top five in Spain, considering two of their remaining three games are on the road.
Daniel Parejo is the club’s leading scorer in the Spanish top flight this season with 12 goals and the attacking midfielder has now scored in each of his last three appearances.
Midfield pair Luka Modric and Alvaro Medran are expected to miss out for Real and although striker Karim Benzema is nearing a return to full fitness he is likely to be used sparingly with one eye on the second leg of their Champions League semi-final with Juve in midweek.
Valencia boss Nuno Santo has a fully fit squad to choose from with his major decision surrounding who he will select up front between Francisco Alcaer and Alvaro Negredo.
Head to Head
Los Che earned all three points thanks to a 2-1 win over Real in the reverse fixture at the Mestalla in January, their first win against the ten-time European Champions since 2009 with real winning six of the 12 meetings between the sides since.
Ronaldo has scored in each of his last five appearances against these opponents too.
The 2/5 on a home win despite facing an opponent in the top four looks tad short but with no margin for error if they’re to have any chance of taking the title from under the noses of Barca their need is certainly the greater of the two here.
11/20 on both teams scoring is a far better gamble for those going big, Real to cover the -1 handicap at Evens is another worth taking on but the 29/20 on a Real win with both teams scoring has to be the pick of the bets for value.