9th May, 2015; 19-00 GMT
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Real Madrid will play hosts to Valencia in this weekenda s La Liga game at the Santiago Bernabeu stadium.
For Real Madrid, there is no other option but to win if they want to ensure that this season isna t a total bust. They are 2 points behind Barcelona in the league table with only 3 games to play. Their Champions League trophy defence may be ending at the semi final stage and they have no cup final to look forward to. At this stage, the league presents their only viable option and that can only happen if they win all their games and Barca drop points in the next 3 games. Whether or not that happens, Madrid would be looking at 9 points from the remaining games, come what may.
Valencia have a lot to play for in the next 3 games as well, as they are fighting for a champions league spot with Sevilla, who are just 3 points behind. With Sevilla playing Celta Vigo this weekend, they cannot afford to lose the game against Madrid, and will be aiming for at least one point to stay ahead of their rivals and keep their top 4 chances alive. In fact, if they can manage all 3 points, they can still be on course to overtake Atletico Madrid, who are only 4 points ahead of them. All in all, this game holds a lot of importance for Valencia.
Team News and Tactics
Madrid currently are facing a sea of injuries, but there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel, with Gareth Bale having returned and now Karim Benzema also back in the squad. Although Benzema may not be fit enough to start the game, having the option to bring him on would be a major relief for Carlo Ancelotti.
Luka Modric, though, is still out and Madrid will feel his loss in this crucial phase of the season. But Ancelotti would have enough faith in the midfield to try and create enough chances for the likes of Ronaldo, Hernandez and Bale to take advantage and score the necessary goals to get all 3 points.
Expected Line up: Casillas; Marcelo, Ramos, Pepe, Arbeloa; Rodriguez, Kroos, Illarramendi; Ronaldo, Hernandez, Bale.
Valencia would be without Rodrigo, who is out due to a suspension. Barring that, manager Nuno Espirito Santo has a full squad to choose from. They will line up in a 4-3-3 formation similar to Madrid, with Feghouli, Alcacer and Piatti manning the forward line.
They will be tasked the tough job of scoring against a strong Madrid defence but even more tough would be for the back 4 of Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi and Gaya will have a job on their hands if they are to keep a clean sheet, a definite necessity if they are to take anything away from this game. Diego Alves was declared fit for the game following a minor knock.
Expected Line up: Alves; Barragan, Mustafi, Otamendi, Gaya; Parejo, Fuego, Gomes; Feghouli, Alcacer, Piatti
- Of the last 15 home games in the La Liga, Real Madrid have won 14.
- Of their last 14 games in the La Liga, Valencia are undefeated in 13.
- Valencia have managed to score a minimum of 2 goals in their last 3 games against Real Madrid.
With a lot at stake for both teams, they could end up cancelling each other out and this could very well end up as a goal scoring draw. If that happens, Madrid can certainly kiss their La Liga chances goodbye.
Predicted Score: Real Madrid 2-2 Valencia