EUROPEAN football expert Mark O’Haire (@MarkOHaire) unearths the value in Wednesday evening’s La Liga clash from the Mestalla.
Valencia v Real Madrid | Wednesday 17:30 | Sky Sports
Real Madrid travel to Valencia for the rearranged league game they had originally been scheduled to play when they were at the Club World Cup in December.
Los Blancos have two games to make up on the rest of the Spanish top-flight and Zinedine Zidane’s men will be looking to extend their one point advantage at the summit following this Mestalla meeting on Wednesday evening.
Madrid set a new club record on Saturday during their 2-0 success over Espanyol, scoring for the 42nd consecutive game in all competitions and although Valencia have improved in recent weeks under Voro – keeping consecutive La Liga clean sheets for the first time since September 2015 – it’s hard to see the hosts silencing Real here.
Madrid should too much
Keylor Navas, Marcelo and Sergio Ramos should all return to the back-four and despite working alone from the group this week, Cristiano Ronaldo is expecting to take his place on the left-side of the attack. Elsewhere, James Rodriguez is likely to start with Gareth Bale being eased back into action from the bench.
Los Blancos boast a W14-D4-L1 league record when playing away under Zidane and although they were rather sketchy in their first success in three road trips at Osasuna last time out, the prior two road trips came at Barcelona and Sevilla.
Madrid have tended to be functional rather than flashy under Zidane but there’s a ruthless efficiency surrounding their style and I expect them to get the job done here. However, they remain vulnerable enough at the back to suggest Valencia could at least get on the scoresheet in defeat.
The betting angle
A Real Madrid win and Both Teams To Score selection is available to support at 9/5 (BetSatars) and holds plenty of appeal considering it’s landed in nine of Real’s 14 away victories under Zidane and in nine of 16 La Liga triumphs this term.
The visitors have recorded a sole clean sheet in seven away league outings and since the French legend took over at the Bernabeu, the BTTS bet has paid out in 14/19 (74%) of games outside the capital club’s home.
Valencia’s ropey Mestalla record
Valencia recorded a 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao at the weekend to move seven points clear of the relegation zone but it was only their third triumph of the term in front of their home supporters. Indeed, the hosts have only W6-D7-L11 at Mestalla dating back to October 2015.
In 2016/17 both Atletico (0-2) and Barcelona (2-3) have both departed with maximum points here and Valencia have shipped at least two goals in seven of their past 10 as hosts with seven also rewarding Both Teams To Score backers.
Los Che should at least see Jose Gaya return to the starting XI with Simone Zaza continuing up top after scoring last time against Athletic, flanked by both Munir and Nani. Right-back Martin Montoya remains absent.
Head-to-head fans might be interested to note that Madrid have lost just once in 16 meetings with Valencia whilst both teams have scored in all six duels since 2013/14 and 10 of the past 11 showdowns at Mestalla have featured Over 2.5 Goals.
Valencia v Real Madrid – Real Madrid to win and Both Teams To Score (9/5 BetStars)