MX23RW : Tuesday, February 19 20:01:23
Dec 1, 2018 at 7.45pm UK at ​Estadio Santiago Bernabéu (Madrid)
Attendance: 69,653
Real Madrid
Wass (8' og.), Vazquez (83')
FT(HT: 1-0)

Preview: Real Madrid vs. Valencia - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole provides team news, predicted lineups and a full preview of Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Valencia.

Real Madrid play host to Valencia at the Bernabeu on Saturday evening having already suffered five defeats from 13 matches in La Liga this season.

Santiago Solari's side sit in sixth place, but Valencia - who only occupy 11th spot - will go ahead of their hosts on goal difference if they can register a rare win.

Real Madrid

Santiago Solari in charge of Real Madrid on November 3, 2018© Reuters

Real have won fewer than half of their La Liga fixtures this season and have already felt the need to make a change in the dugout, but the club are still only six points adrift of leaders Sevilla.

That is much to do with Barcelona and Atletico Madrid's lack of consistency more than anything else, but it at least should serve as a reminder that Real are capable of getting themselves back into contention for the league crown.

Suffering what was perceived to be a embarrassing 3-0 loss at Eibar last weekend came as a huge blow to Solari and his players, but it should not be forgotten that the club are still on a run of five victories from six outings.

Tougher tests will lie ahead - including the showdown against a resolute Valencia outfit on Saturday - and although Solari will not be overly happy with the team's performances in general, his players are at least heading in the right direction.

Losing to Roma in the Champions League would have put Solari in a similar position to that of Julen Lopetegui in the sense that a talented squad was not performing to their best on a regular basis, but leaving Italy's capital with a win and clean sheet was the perfect response to the defeat at Eibar.

Karim Benzema has arguably been the pick of Real's front players since Lopetegui's departure with three goals and two assists coming from his last four outings, but the pressure is growing on Gareth Bale to make more of an impact despite his goal in midweek.

There also remains question marks over goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, but the Belgian stopper showed signs at the Stadio Olimpico that he is still more than capable of producing the kind of form which earned his switch to the Bernabeu.

Real have just three league games left before the Christmas break, and with Huesca and Rayo Vallecano to follow the clash with Valencia, there is a window of opportunity for the club to be placed back in the top four for the start of 2019.

Recent form: LLLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLW


Valencia manager Marcelino watches on during his side's Champions League clash with Juventus in September 2018© Reuters

Marcelino was always going to have a hard task on his hands to replicate Valencia's fourth-placed finish from last season, but the 53-year-old may have been left fearing for his job after witnessing his side win just one of their opening 11 league matches.

However, back-to-back victories in La Liga have changed the mood at the Mestalla and Valencia are now in a position where they are within touching distance of moving ahead of Real Madrid in the standings.

Marcelino will not get carried away with triumphs over clubs in Getafe and Rayo Vallecano, who are placed in the bottom half of the table, but the foundations have at least been laid for Los Che to put together a run of results to get themselves back in the picture at the right end of Spain's top flight.

Eight draws from 13 games will still be perceived as a negative at this present moment, but victory over Real would leave the club with just two defeats from 14 games and in front of the European champions.

The margin for error is still small, with Valencia still being able to be as low as 14th position by the end of the weekend, although Marcelino and his players will be focused on the positives and the opportunity to inflict more misery on one of their rivals.

Santi Mina has been Valencia's star man over the past four games, and the 22-year-old's double against Rayo Vallecano last weekend was his second in the space of three outings.

The attacker could potentially find himself saved as an option off the bench for this particular fixture, but he is one of three Valencia players to have netted more than one goal in the top flight this season.

The defence continue to possess the joint-best record in the division, but Valencia will not make further inroads up the table unless their attacking talent begin to get on the scoresheet.

Recent form: DDDLWW
Recent form (all competitions): WLWWWL

Team News

Dani Ceballos in action for Real Madrid on August 19, 2018© Reuters

Solari could potentially opt to name an unchanged starting lineup after Tuesday night's impressive win at Roma.

Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio both dropped out of the team in midweek, and the Spanish duo may have to do with a place among the replacements this weekend.

An unchanged team would mean a first league start of the season for Marcos Llorente, who has featured for just 11 minutes in La Liga during the current campaign.

Marcelino must decide whether to keep two men in attack, with one of Rodrigo Moreno and Mina at risk of dropping out if the Valencia boss opts for a more defensive-minded formation.

Carlos Soler's place in the team is also at risk, but changes are likely to be kept to a minimum despite the defeat at Juventus in midweek.

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Courtois; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Modric, Llorente; Lucas, Benzema, Bale

Valencia possible starting lineup:
Neto; Wass, Gabriel, Diakhaby, Gaya; Coquelin, Kondogbia, Parejo; Mina, Moreno, Guedes

Head To Head

Real Madrid are unbeaten in their last three competitive meetings with Valencia, but Los Blancos have registered just three wins from their eight most recent clashes.

Valencia have not prevailed at the Bernabeu since 2008, but Los Che have scored at least one goal on each of their last visits to the stadium.

Both teams have registered at least one goal in the last 11 games, a period stretching to January 2013 when Valencia succumbed to a 5-0 defeat.

Sports Mole Logo

We say: Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia

This has all the makings of a close battle with both sides having found wins difficult to come by this season. Valencia have shown signs of improvement recently, but we are backing Real to grind out a much-needed victory.

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Who will win Saturday's La Liga clash between Real Madrid and Valencia?

Real Madrid
Real Madrid
Sergio Ramos celebrates scoring from the spot during the La Liga game between Real Madrid and Real Valladolid on November 3, 2018
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