La Liga Betting: Real Madrid v Valencia



Starting your managerial career at a club with huge expectations and demanding fans can take its toll, even for the most placid of individuals. Mauricio Pellegrino exudes calmness, though an away trip to the reigning La Liga champions will surely make the palms of his hands perspire a little. The man in the opposite dugout is perhaps the greatest manager of his generation - in his own head at least. But "the special one" is so last year: he now wants people to call him "the only one".

Records were torn to shreds by Real last season. It's difficult to see how they can be bettered, though this squad will endeavour to do just that. Unlike previous summers, there has been no recruitment drive; so far no new signing has passed through the Ciudad Real Madrid doors, with only a couple of youth team players being promoted. Although the arrival of Luka Modrić looks imminent, little else will happen, despite the hopes of Fulham's Moussa Dembélé.

Team news

Real Madrid have a full squad to choose from. Whilst Valencia have Sergio Canales and Éver Banega missing, Roberto Soldado looks set to play a part, "I have been training at 100 per cent for the last two days and if nothing new happens until Sunday, I will be in condition to play the match," he revealed. Though they opted for a change in manager, Sporting Director Braulio Vázquez still oversees further acquisitions. Jonathan Viera, Andres Guardado, Fernando Gago and Joao Pereira all add strength in depth to this outfit.

Form

Real notched 14 goals in their last four pre-season games, including an exhibition against Milan. That's an average of 3.5 goals per game: you can go over that line at a tempting 2.10. Los Blancos also managed just the 121 goals last term, with a measly 100 points. The reigning champions have only been beaten once at the Bernabéu this year, and that was against you-know-who.

For Valencia, things are less clear; under the guidance of a new coach it's always difficult to assess the changes to be made. Defeat to Eintracht Frankfurt in the final warm-up game was the only one this summer, but it remains to be seen whether their pre-season will help them build on their poor end-of-season form. The run-in under Emery saw them limp into the final automatic Champions League spot, losing three of their final seven games.

Recent head-to-head

Unai Emery's form against Real Madrid - just won win in eight league meetings - was perhaps one of the main factors that led to his sacking. His Valencia team did travel to Madrid in early April, however, keeping a clean sheet and stealing a point, as Real rained 32 attempts on goal. In the previous three games, Mourinho's side had hammered home 11, however.

Goalscorer betting

With it being announced this week that Karim Benzema will stand trial for allegedly soliciting an underage prostitute, the football script writers may have their pens on stand-by. Thoughts of a potential three-year imprisonment will be pushed to the back of his mind, however, as he looks to keep Gonzalo Higuain out of the side. Benzema is 5.00 for first goal. You can also get 3.75 on Cristiano Ronaldo notching the opener.

Having spurned the advances of Tottenham this summer, Los Che will be hoping Roberto Soldado repays their belief. He signed a new five-year contract back in June and is 4.00 to score at anytime.

Verdict

The new manager bounce will do little for the travelling side. José's men are looking to put on a show and lay down a marker down to their rivals before next Thursday's Supercopa de España first leg. A home win is 1.25.

Bonus bet

With the variety of skillful and tricky players at Valencia's disposal, a sneaky look at Pepe picking up a yellow card might be worthwhile. The Portuguese centre-back can be a little rash at the best of times and is at 3.20 to get a card.

Score prediction

Real Madrid 3-1 Valencia (10.00)