Real Madrid will be looking to move to the top of the La Liga table when they travel to Estadio Jose Zorrilla to take on Real Valladolid this weekend.

Real Madrid will be aiming to knock arch rivals Barcelona off their perch at the top of the La Liga standings when they face off against Real Valladolid away from home in matchweek 21.

Real Madrid are currently on a five-game winning streak, with their most recent fixture ending in a 3-1 win against Unionistas in Copa del Rey. Currently tied on 43 points with Barcelona, Zinedine Zidane’s side have an excellent chance to move to the top of the table, after the Catalans were beaten 2-0 by Valencia on Saturday.

Valladolid are in the 15th position in the standings, having accumulated 22 points from 20 matches, six points above the drop zone. Sergio Gonzalez’s side are without a win in their last eight La Liga matches while they were also eliminated from the Copa del Rey earlier this week at the hands of lower league side Tenerife.

The reverse fixture earlier in the season saw Valladolid hold Real Madrid to a 1-1 draw with Sergi Guardiola cancelling out Karim Benzema’s goal. And ahead of the latest meeting between the two teams, we take a closer look at the encounter.

Team News & Tactics

Real Valladolid

The hosts have a full-strength squad heading into the big game against Real Madrid, with Stiven Platiza the only player who is a doubt for Sunday. Valladolid will set up with a five-man backline and look to defend deep and stifle the visitors.

Former Barcelona goalkeeper Jordi Masip is likely to be a busy man between the sticks and will need all the protection he can get from the backline comprising of Mohammed Salisu, Kiko Olivas and Joaquin Fernandez. Javi Moyano and Raul Garcia should occupy the full-back slots and look to provide width going forward, while being responsible in defence.

Ruben Alcaraz will sit the deepest in the middle of the park and look to offer protection to the backline. Support will come from Michel and Fede San Emeterio, both of whom will have to pull double duty in attacking and defensive halves of the pitch.

Sergi Guardiola, who scored the late equaliser against Real Madrid last time out, will start in attack, partnered by Enes Unal, with Sandro Ramirez providing an option from the bench.

Probable Lineup (5-3-2): Masip; Moyano, Salisu, Olivas, Fernandez, Garcia; Michel, Alcaraz, Fede; Guardiola, Unal

Real Madrid

Real Madrid will be without first-choice right-back Dani Carvajal, who is suspended for the game, while Marco Asenio and Eden Hazard remain out injured. Sergio Ramos has recovered from an ankle injury and has been included in the 19-man squad by Zidane, but Gareth Bale misses out due to a groin problem.

There will be changes in plenty to the side that started the cup tie against Unionistas last time out. Starting from goal, Thibaut Courtois is set to return on Sunday after having made way for Alphonse Areola in midweek.

With Carvajal ruled out and Alvaro Odriozola leaving the club, Nacho or Eder Militao could slot in at right-back, while Ferland Mendy should replace Marcelo at left-back. Raphael Varane is a certainty in the heart of the Real Madrid defence with the fit-again captain Ramos likely to slot back into the side.

Casemiro is a guaranteed starter at the base of the Real Madrid midfield, but Federico Valverde is likely to be held back after starting the cup game. Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, both of whom did not feature in the game, ought to return to the starting XI on Sunday.

There is no looking past Karim Benzema in the centre-forward role for Real Madrid, while there will be changes on the flanks as Rodrygo Goes and Isco are likely to be back in the team against Valladolid.

Probable Lineup (4-3-3): Courtois; Militao, Varane, Ramos, Mendy; Modric, Casemiro, Kroos; Isco, Benzema, Rodrygo

Key Stats

  • Real Madrid have conceded at least one goal in each of their last 10 La Liga trips to Real Valladolid (14 goals on aggregate), their longest run failing to keep a clean sheet against them in the competition.
  • Real Valladolid are winless in their last 10 La Liga games against Real Madrid (D2 L8), since a win at home in November 2008 under Jose Luis Mendilíbar (1-0).
  • Real Madrid have only lost one of their 10 away La Liga games this season (W5 D4), keeping a clean sheet in five of the last eight.
  • Real Valladolid have failed to win any of their last eight La Liga games (D5 L3) but they have drawn the last three.
  • Real Madrid have only conceded 13 goals in 20 games played in La Liga this season, their lowest figure at this stage in the top-flight since 1987-88 (12).

Player to Watch

Karim Benzema

Real Madrid will look towards Karim Benzema for inspiration once again. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

Real Madrid will look towards Karim Benzema for inspiration once again. (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

The Frenchman has been the driving force of this Real Madrid side since Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in 2018. Benzema has made a strong start to the 2019-20 campaign, scoring 12 goals in 19 league games, while setting up five more.

However, the 32-year-old has failed to score or assist a single goal in his last five appearances across all competitions. Benzema has a solid record against Valladolid, with 5 goals and assists apiece in eight games and he will be hoping to end his short goal drought and lead Real Madrid to a win.

Prediction

Real Valladolid 1-3 Real Madrid

Real Madrid have not lost in their last eighteen matches in all competitions while Real Valladolid have not won even one of their last eight league matches. Given the contrasting form that the two sides are in, coupled with the gulf in quality in between, a win for Zinedine Zidane & co. seems the most likely outcome at Estadio Jose Zorrilla.

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