Goals are always on the agenda when Real Madrid take to the field and their La Liga opener against Valencia tomorrow should be no different.
These two teams offered one of the games of the season last year at the Mestalla, with Valencia clawing back from a 2-0 deficit only to have Cristiano Ronaldo put the tie to bed.
That 3-2 win for Real Madrid was a pivotal moment in their season, as the season prior would have perhaps brought them a draw at best. But Valencia were one of the few teams to really stand up to Jose Mourinho’s men in the league, yet Los Blancos really announced themselves as worthy champions through games such as that.
This time around should be no different. Real Madrid’s attacking options are very rarely rivalled in all of European football, and players such as Ronaldo and Mesut Ozil proved to be extremely sharp in pre-season.
The home crowd should be a huge boost to Madrid’s prospects of a win and a daunting twelfth man that Valencia will have to face.
Bet365 betting on this La Liga match:
1/4 Real Madrid, 5/1 Draw, 9/1 Valencia
The corresponding fixture last season saw Real Madrid struggle to score, as Mourinho’s men succumbed to their third draw in five games.
Despite Real Madrid yet to strengthen their squad during this summer’s transfer window, it is still incredibly strong.
Xabi Alonso is likely to take up a deep creative role in midfield, while Mesut Ozil will dictate from further up the pitch. It’s difficult to judge who will be the go-to striker for Mourinho in this game, as Karim Benzema has faced off-field problems in recent times but Gonzalo Higuain was firmly the second choice last season. There’s no great loss in picking Higuain ahead of Benzema as he is also an excellent striker, but it is difficult to predict which way Mourinho will go.
As for Valencia, they’ve lost one of their most high-profile stars this summer in Jordi Alba, who left for Barcelona. The club have, however, strengthened in other areas. Sergio Canales and Fernando Gago have both arrived from Real Madrid, with the former extending his loan spell of last season into a permanent deal.
Both will take up big roles for this Valencia side going forward, and hopefully Canales will avoid any further injury problems this season. The former Madrid and Racing midfielder was considered one of Spain’s brightest prospects, yet had has career stalled by a misguided move to the capital and subsequent injury-hit season last year.
Canales is capable of running the show in the midfield for Valencia, and if he starts, expect him to play an important role in the side.
Mauricio Pellegrino, the man chosen to replace Unai Emery in the dugout, will surely be forgiven any likely defeat to the reigning La Liga champions this weekend. Valencia are comfortably one of the best sides in the “other league” in Spain, but the gulf between them and Barcelona and Real Madrid is simply too great.
The young manager has a good group this season and he’ll be relying heavily on former Real Madrid striker Roberto Soldado for goals.
This is definitely one of the must-watch matches in all of European football this weekend. Valencia are capable of contributing to an overall exciting game and Real Madrid’s ferocity going forward can be breathtaking at times.
I fancy Real Madrid to pick up where they left off last season with a win and marker for their intentions going into this year. On their day, Jose Mourinho’s team are simply unstoppable, and if they’re in the mood, they are capable of running up a big score line.