Five points separate third-placed Valencia from fourth-placed Real Madrid as things stand, but the reigning champions put seven past Deportivo La Coruna last weekend while Valencia suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at Las Palmas.
A terrific 2017-18 campaign to date has left Marcelino's impressive Valencia team in third spot in Spain's top flight. They have won 12, drawn four and lost four of their 20 league fixtures this season, and would move eight points clear of Real Madrid if they overcome the wounded champions at the Mestalla this weekend.
Atletico Madrid have been praised for their impressive season, but Valencia are just three points off Diego Simeone's side. That said, Barcelona sit 14 points clear of Los Che at the summit. Valencia are not going to win the title this season, but they have a terrific chance of securing a top-three finish.
The former Spanish champions have finished 12th in each of the last two seasons, but they finished third in three straight campaigns between 2009 and 2012, while they also secured a top-four finish during the 2014-15 season.
Valencia suffered a shock 2-1 defeat at lowly Las Palmas last weekend, but they did manage to book their spot in the semi-finals of the Copa del Rey on Wednesday night – overcoming Alaves on penalties following a 3-3 aggregate draw - and will bring an impressive home record into this match.
Indeed, Marcelino's team have won seven and lost just one of their 10 home league fixtures this season – scoring 21 times and conceding just six. They held Barcelona to a 1-1 draw at the Mestalla towards the end of November, and will be confident of causing Real Madrid a lot of problems on Saturday afternoon.
That said, Valencia have lost four of their last seven in the league, and will be wary of a backlash from the Spanish giants.
Recent form: WLLWWL
Recent form (all competitions): WWWWLW
There is no getting away from the fact that it has been a difficult 2017-18 campaign for Real Madrid, and things got worse on Wednesday night when they were dumped out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes.
The Spanish champions took a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of their quarter-final, but lost 2-1 at home to Leganes to exit the competition on away goals. The Bernabeu faithful made their feelings known at full-time, and there will be a lot of pressure on Los Blancos to bounce back in this match.
There were, however, signs of life against Deportivo in the league last weekend. Zinedine Zidane's side entered the clash with Deportivo having lost their last two home league fixtures against Barcelona and Villarreal, and they fell behind to the relegation-threatened outfit when Adrian Lopez slotted into the back of the net in the 23rd minute.
The response was incredible, however, with Real Madrid scoring seven unanswered goals to ensure that they would send out a message. With Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale on the same pitch for the first time this season, the reigning Spanish champions ran riot.
Nineteen points still separate fourth-placed Real Madrid from league leaders Barcelona, however, and Zidane's side are also eight points off second-placed Atletico. A win this weekend would be another step in the right direction, although a lot of damage has already been done.
Real Madrid have only lost once on their travels in the league this season, but have found Valencia a tough nut to crack at the Mestalla in recent years.
Zidane is expected to remain in charge for Saturday's match, although another defeat could see the Frenchman lose his job, and former Los Blancos manager Carlo Ancelotti is the favourite to return to the Bernabeu.
Recent form: DWLDLW
Recent form (all competitions): DDLWWL
Recent arrival from Arsenal Francis Coquelin is expected to start in the middle of the park.
Club captain Sergio Ramos made his return from injury against Leganes on Wednesday night, and the Spaniard should be joined at centre-back by Raphael Varane, although Nacho has been in impressive form for the capital side.
Valencia possible starting lineup:
Neto; Montoya, Garay, Vidal, Lato; Coquelin, Kondogbia; Maksimovic, Mina, Guedes; Rodrigo
Real Madrid possible starting lineup:
Navas; Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Marcelo; Kroos, Casemiro, Modric; Ronaldo, Benzema, Bale
Head To Head
Two of the last five fixtures between these two teams have finished level, with Real Madrid winning twice and Valencia once during the same period.
Real Madrid have not actually beaten Valencia in the league at the Mestalla since December 2013, however, which suggests that this weekend will be a tight affair.
We say: Valencia 1-2 Real Madrid
All of the signs point to a difficult afternoon for Real Madrid. The Spanish champions were impressive against Deportivo last weekend, however, and we are tipping the visitors to pick up three much-needed points here.