It’s been quite a while since Valencia interfered in the race for the title in Primera Division and this season will not be different. The Bats are aiming for a third place that would grant them another Champions League berth and for this to happen they need to win more than 20 games. The fixture with Real Madrid is not one of them, and a scoreless draw such as the one scrapped last year would be a gem.
Match: Real Madrid vs Valencia
Bet: Valencia +1,5 goals
Odds: bet365 2.25
Valencia lost some important players during the season break, with Mehmet Topal and Jordi Alba being the more notable ones. The squad was reinforced by the addition of Fernando Gago, Andres Guardado and Sergio Canales, so it only fair to say that things didn’t change for the worse. It is less important what squad will the visitors field, because what really matters is what strategy they intend to use against Real.
The first half is critical
What happens during the first 45 minutes is essential, because unless Valencia manages to contain Ronaldo & Co, the hosts will build on their early lead. This is a critical match for Real and a very difficult one to start the championship because the race with Barcelona will probably be as tight as ever. Except for their archrivals, Valencia is the best team Real Madrid could have met in the opening game and the fans are expecting nothing less than a clear victory.
If things don’t go as planned during the first half and Real doesn’t lead at halftime, it is not unlikely for frustration to settle in. Ronaldo is particularly susceptible to meltdowns and his streaky performance at Euro 2012 is the best example that Christiano’s greatest foe is himself. Madrid won most of its friendly games so far, including the 5-1 trashing of AC Milan and LA Galaxy and it has plenty of depth to push for a victory even if Ronaldo doesn’t shine.
Real Madrid is the overwhelming favorite to win the game and it has both the home field advantage and the better record in head-to-head games. Everyone expects them to win by two goals or more and Bet365 even offers odds of 2,25 for Valencia to cover the +1,5 goals spread. The visitors will defend during the first few minutes and unless Madrid scores an early goal, there is no reason for them to come out of the shell. It will be difficult for Valencia to get away with points from Santiago Bernabeu, but a narrow margin defeat is plausible.