Match Preview: Real Madrid vs Valencia – 2021/22

By: Mohammed Sahel

Football is back at the Bernabéu. The new year hasn’t been very kind to Real Madrid. Getafe took the wind out of their sails at the Coliseum around this time last week. Then the minnows from Alcoyano stood in their way in rather humble surroundings, which they won, but not in the most convincing of ways. 

Now Madrid come back to the grandeur and glory of the capital city, José Enrique Bordalas’ Valencia visit tonight. Bordalas was long standing Getafe head coach not long ago, they of course are a side who bested the Merengues just last week — playing just the kind of football a Bordalas side would play to suffocate Madrid.

What to Expect: 

Valencia are predictable in every way. They line up in what is almost a pre-meditative 4-4-2, look to move up the pitch as a unit, and defend narrowly. Bordalas’ side likes attacking down the flanks, Jose Gayá and Hugo Duro (suspended) run up and down the left, while the resilient Dmitri Foulqier and Carlos Soler (Both injured) pair down the right. 

Seeing as how three of their four first choice flank players are missing, Valencia have ground to cover ahead of tonight’s clash, and improvising hasn’t always been their forte — quite the opposite really. Daniel Wass might operate as a wide midfielder on the right and Denis Cheryschev will probably get a nod on the other side. 

Valencia attack vertically, and are very timid in possession. Maintaining spells of sustained pressure is not what they do best, and that is exactly why they shine brightest against teams that come at them, rather than sit off. They are also vulnerable to the counter attack themselves and like any Bordalas team to ever exist, they have quite a big disciplinary problem. 

Without doubt, a tough nut to crack. But Vinícius Júnior’s return excites is exciting, and hopefully Eden Hazard continues to retain Ancelotti’s trust. Beating Valencia will require Los Blancos to remain strong deep into the game. They are a team who like to leave it late, but hopefully Ancelotti and Co. will have done their homework. The home side should be able to match Valencia’s spirit and make them work hard. Hala Madrid! 

Team News: 

As aforementioned, Valencia lack a chunk of their starting eleven. Carlos Soler is quite the ‘nemesis’ in terms of facing Real Madrid and Hugo Duro did score against us at the Mestalla. He will be replaced by another former Real Madrid player in Denis Cheryschev. Nobody likes going one on one against Dmitri Foulqier, so Vinicius will surely breathe a sigh of relief. 

Real Madrid’s worries only got worse on Wednesday as Mariano Diaz limped off versus Alcoyano. That wouldn’t be so much of a problem if Luka Jovic was available. With the pair out, Benzema will either play the full ninety minutes or be replaced by a likely misfit (maybe Hazard). Dani Carvajal and Gareth Bale remain out with their respective injuries. Hopefully Dani Ceballos and Isco get a chance late on after their decent showings against Alcoyano

Djené is suspended and Vitolo is a doubt for Getafe. 

Expected Line-ups: 

Real Madrid: 


Vázquez — Militão — Alaba — Mendy 

Modrić — Casemiro — Kroos 

Asensio —Benzema — Vini jr. 



Correia — Diakhaby — Alderate — Gayà 

Costa — Wass — Guillamón — Cheryschev 

Gonçalo Guedes — Maxi López

Player to Watch: 

Real Madrid: Vinícius Júnior. The Brazilian was very recently named the most valuable player in world football by transfermarkt. His rise to prominence is truly brilliant, and what better way to start the year than with a game at the Bernabéu (which by the way will only be at 75% capacity). The past month has been on and off for Vinicius. Simply said, big things are expected of him tonight. 

Valencia: Gonçalo Gudes. The Portuguese international partners Uruguayan striker Maxi Lopez up front for our rivals. He is a real threat from the get go, and offers versatility that Lopez does not. Above all, he is selfless, sometimes more unreasonably so for a centre forward. 

Goals aren’t his biggest asset but he recently did have a thriller of a game away at Levante (4-3 W with 2G and 1A). On the counter attack, Guedes is a busy player. Lopez is usually the out-ball, and stays narrow while Guedes’ movement and ball control wreaks havoc in opposition defences. 


Real Madrid 2-1 Valencia. 

Even with the absences, do not expect Valencia to go easy on Ancelotti’s men. Los Murciélagos last lost in October prior to their recent loss against Espanyol. They do tend to concede even when they win, which should be a good thing for the league leaders. Expect Ancelotti to approach the game a little conservatively given the upcoming Clasico. 

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