This Sunday, Real Madrid will head to Mestalla for a showdown with Valencia. We’ll have revenge on our minds – the 4-1 away loss to Valencia last season still stings deeply. But it’ll not be easy. Valencia’s home ground is always a tricky place to visit.
Moreover, we’re a much-changed side this season. It will be a new look Madrid that’s heading to Valencia. The defensive spine that has served Los Blancos so well for more than a decade is gone. Our captain and soul of the club, Sergio Ramos, is at Paris Saint-Germain, while the ever reliable Raphael Varane has gone to Manchester United.
In fact, both teams have undergone huge changes this summer with new managers and players coming in. Carlo Ancelotti has returned to Madrid, while Valencia now has Jose Bordalas. On the field, David Alaba has taken Ramos’ place, while Valencia now has the new Paraguayan centre-back Omar Alderete. In midfield, we have the exciting addition of Eduardo Camavinga – who has already scored for us – while Helder Costa may be the other new face turning out for Los Che.
But while there is new blood, I think the old heads will determine the outcome of this match. That is where Real Madrid will have the upper hand. Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro may be in their 30s, but their chemistry and experience will likely prove too much for Valencia. They will likely be Ancelotti’s first choice trio. Despite their age, I still believe that they make up the strongest midfield in LaLiga. We still have Federico Valverde and Camavinga to inject energy if needed.
Up front, the trickery and pace of Vinicius Junior and Eden Hazard will perfectly complement the wily Karim Benzema. The French striker is destroying defences this season, with 5 goals and 4 assists in 4 games. It will be a busy day for Valencia’s back 4.
Although the home team has Goncalo Guedes and Carlos Soler in strong form, I think Real Madrid’s defence can hold them off. The reason? Alaba. The Austrian is our new Ramos, the one who will provide plenty of guidance to Eder Militao and Nacho.
I predict that Real Madrid will emerge 4-1 winners. The key is to get an early goal, and then slowly pick Valencia off on the counter. Bordalas’ team may press hard, but the likes of Modric and Kroos are masters at retaining possession in the face of pressure. They should face no problem. As the game goes on, Valencia will run out of steam, and Madrid will likely go in for the kill. We just have to be patient and ride out the initial storm that Mestalla promises to bring.
As for this season, I think that Real Madrid can still fight for the title. While we may have lost our spiritual leader in Ramos, the team is still strong with many world-class players and emerging talents. This is a good mix. Veterans like Hazard, Benzema and Modric will support the likes of Rodrygo, Vinicius Junior and Camavinga. After a trophyless 2020/21 season, I’m confident that it will not be the case this year.
– Nathanael Fang is a Real Madrid fan who started following the club because of his love for Cristiano Ronaldo.
– The views expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not represent Batzine’s.