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Preview: Valencia vs. Real Madrid - prediction, team news, lineups
19/09/2021 12:50:47

Real Madrid will be looking to continue their encouraging start to the 2021-22 campaign when they travel to Mestalla on Sunday night to face an in-form Valencia.

Carlo Ancelotti's side are currently top of the table with 10 points from four matches, while Valencia occupy second with the same amount of points from their opening four fixtures.

We say: Valencia 1-1 Real Madrid

Real Madrid have made an impressive start to the season, but Valencia's form cannot be overlooked, and the fact that they have had longer to prepare for this match will hand them an advantage. A 1-0 win either way would not be a surprise, but we can see the two teams sharing the spoils here.

Match preview

Valencia's off-the-field issues have been well-documented in recent years, with the six-time Spanish champions struggling financially, and they finished a disappointing 13th in Spain's top flight last term.

It would be fair to say that there was not too much optimism surrounding the club entering the new season, but new head coach Jose Bordalas has delivered some excellent performances and indeed results, with Los Che currently second in the table, having picked up 10 points from their first four fixtures.

Valencia opened their 2021-22 campaign with a 1-0 victory over Getafe before drawing with Granada and beating Alaves in their final two matches ahead of the international break.

Bordalas's side then made it three wins for the season away to Osasuna on September 12, recording a 4-1 victory, with the visitors coming from behind to run out convincing winners in Pamplona.

Los Che will certainly be aware of the size of the task waiting for them this weekend, but they recorded a 4-1 win over Real Madrid in the corresponding match last season and have beaten the capital giants in two of their last five meetings at this level of football.

Not since January 2018 have Real Madrid recorded a league victory at Mestalla, but Ancelotti's side will enter Sunday's contest full of confidence, having made a strong start to the 2021-22 campaign.

Los Blancos beat Alaves and drew with Levante in their opening two fixtures before recording a 1-0 win away to Real Betis before the international break courtesy of a second-half effort from Dani Carvajal.

Ancelotti's team have also picked up victories in their last two matches, running out 5-2 winners over Celta Vigo in the league last weekend before beating Inter Milan 1-0 on Wednesday night in their Champions League group-stage opener, meaning that confidence should be flowing in the squad.

Real Madrid now have three league matches in quick succession, taking on Valencia, Mallorca and Villarreal ahead of their final match of the month, which comes at home to Sheriff Tiraspol in the Champions League.

Los Blancos are looking to wrestle the title back from Atletico Madrid this season and despite a quiet summer transfer window, the squad certainly looks strong enough to launch a firm challenge this term.

Team News

Valencia will have to make at least one change from the side that started against Osasuna last time out, as Denis Cheryshev has picked up a knee problem, which is expected to rule him out until October.

Recent arrival Dimitri Foulquier replaced Cheryshev off the bench last time out, and the change could now occur ahead of kickoff, with the 28-year-old in line to make his full debut for Los Che.

Cristiano Piccini is also still out, but head coach Bordalas has no other concerns, so there are not expected to be any surprises, with the in-form Carlos Soler playing off the right and Goncalo Guedes joining Maxi Gomez in the final third of the field.

As for Real Madrid, Dani Ceballos, Toni Kroos, Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Ferland Mendy have all been ruled out of this weekend's contest at Mestalla.

Rodrygo came off the bench to score the winning goal against Inter, and the Brazilian could now be in line to start alongside Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior in the final third of the field.

Luka Modric came through his 80 minutes of football unscathed after his recent injury problems, and the Croatia international should again line up in the middle of the park.

Eduardo Camavinga and Eden Hazard are also pushing for starts, but it seems likely that Ancelotti will keep both players in reserve for Sunday's clash.

Valencia possible starting lineup:

Mamardashvili; Correia, Paulista, Alderete, Gaya; Soler, Guillamon, Wass, Foulquier; Guedes, Gomez

Real Madrid possible starting lineup:

Courtois; Carvajal, Militao, Alaba, Nacho; Valverde, Modric, Casemiro; Rodrygo, Benzema, Vinicius

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