Real Madrid will be aiming to make it two wins in two matches, when they face off against Real Valladolid at the Santiago Bernabeu this weekend.
Real Madrid will be keen on holding on to their top spot in the 2019-20 La Liga when they welcome Real Valladolid to the Bernabeu on Saturday evening.
After a dodgy pre-season, Real Madrid kicked off the new La Liga campaign in style, as they defeated Celta Vigo 3-1 away from home, courtesy of goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez.
While seven more sides picked up all three points last weekend, Zinedine Zidane’s side find themselves at the top of the table owing to a better goal difference. And the French tactician will be hoping that his side carry on from where they left off last weekend and rack up another impressive victory.
Real Valladolid also kickstarted the new season with a victory, as they defeated a ten-man Real Betis side 2-1 away from home. The result put them in the fourth position in the La Liga standings, and manager Sergio will be aiming to get another positive result away from home against Los Blancos on Saturday.
Real Madrid racked up wins in both their meetings against Real Valladolid last season. And ahead of their latest contest, we at The Hard Tackle take a closer look at both teams.
Team News & Tactics
Two of Real Madrid’s new recruits are unavailable for Saturday’s fixture as star man Eden Hazard and Brazilian sensation Rodrygo are sidelined with injuries. Spanish attacker Marco Asensio is also out of the contest, while fellow forwards Brahim Diaz and Mariano Diaz are set to miss out as well. Luka Modric is ruled out for a game after his sending off last week.
Zidane, however, will be able to call upon first-choice right-back Dani Carvajal, who missed the opening game due to a suspension carried over from the last season. The Spaniard is expected to replace Alvaro Odriozola in the four-man backline, with Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo set to keep their places in front of goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.
Casemiro had a solid outing at the base of the Madrid midfield and should feature once again on Saturday. Toni Kroos is also a shoo-in after his goal-scoring performance against Celta. With Modric suspended, Isco could get a look-in into the starting XI against Valladolid.
Gareth Bale put on an impressive display in the opening fixture and is expected to occupy the right flank, with Brazilian hotshot Vinicius Junior set to feature from the opposite side. Karim Benzema should continue to spearhead the Real Madrid attack, ahead of summer recruit Luka Jovic.
Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Isco, Casemiro, Kroos; Bale, Benzema, Vinicius
Real Valladolid also have a few injury concerns heading into the weekend clash. Midfielder Ruben Alcaraz and forward Sandro Ramirez are both set to miss out after picking up injuries in the Pucela’s season opener against Real Betis. Luismi is another first-team player that will not be available for selection on Saturday.
Valladolid have loaned three players from Real Madrid – goalkeeper Andriy Lunin, defender Javi Sanchez and winger Jorge de Frutos, all of whom are eligible to play against their parent club at the Bernabeu.
Manager Sergio is unlikely to change the 4-4-2 formation that has worked well for his team against the La Liga giants. Former Barcelona goalkeeper Jordi Masip should start ahead of Lunin between the sticks and will be guarded by the backline comprising of Javo Moyano and Nacho Martinez as the full-backs with Mohammed Salisu and Kiko Olivas at the centre.
Alcaraz’s injury opens up a spot in the middle of the park, which could possibly be filled by Anuar Mohamed, with the second midfield slot likely to be held by Michel. Antonito should hold on to his spot on the right flank, while Oscar Plano, who netted in the season opener, is a certain starter on the left-side.
Upfront, with Sandro out of contention for selection, Enes Unal is likely to get the nod alongside Sergi Guardiola, who opened his goalscoring account last week and will want to add to his tally against the capital club.
Probable Lineup (4-4-2): Masip; Moyano, Salisu, Olivas, Nacho; Antonito, Michel, Anuar, Plano; Guardiola, Unal
- Real Madrid have won 15 of their last 16 fixtures against Real Valladolid. The defeat came way back in the 2008-09 campaign, with Los Blancos losing 1-0 away from home.
- Real Madrid have won 37 of their 43 league home games against Valladolid (D3 L3).
- Real Valladolid have won three of their last four La Liga encounters (L1), as many wins as they had in their previous 20 in the competition.
- Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema has been directly involved in 17 goals in his last 13 LaLiga matches, having bagged 12 goals and set up 5 more.
- Real Madrid have failed to score only in one of their 43 La Liga home matches against Real Valladolid.
Player to Watch
The past couple of months have been quite eventful for Gareth Bale. Following Zidane’s return as Real Madrid manager, the Welshman’s future at the club looked bleak. And for a long time it looked like he was on his way out, with the manager confirming as much. A move to the cash-rich Chinese Super League was on the verge of completion, only for Madrid to cancel the transfer at the last moment.
All this can be mentally draining to a player, but Bale has shown great strength and attitude, and now seems to be back in Zidane’s plans for the season, especially after Marco Asensio’s injury. In fact, the Welsh wing-wizard was the star of the show in Real Madrid’s opening day win against Celta, grabbing an assist and impressing with his general play.
With Asensio set to spend a lengthy time on the sidelines and Eden Hazard also recovering from an injury, Bale will have a major role to play for Real Madrid. And all eyes will be on him once again, when he steps out at the Bernabeu for the first time this season.
Real Madrid 2-0 Real Valladolid
Both Real Madrid and Real Valladolid began their campaigns with victories and will be keen on carrying the confidence and momentum from their respective opening day victories. And while Valladolid are not a team to be taken lightly, the quality within the ranks at Real Madrid should shine through on Saturday, with Zinedine Zidane’s men likely to coast to a straightforward win.