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Real Madrid vs Valencia

Calendar 2nd February
Football icon kick off 20:00
Football icon Real Madrid to win
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Following Barcelona’s win at Betis last night, Madrid find themselves 8 points behind their great rivals.

That’s credit to Barcelona more than anything, with the Catalan club having won 16/19 this season.

This is now a must win for Madrid, in that scenario there’s few better opponents than a Valencia side who are falling apart.

They’ve lost 3 of their last 4. They’ve only won 1 game on the road all season and are yet again under caretaker charge following the departure of Gennaro Gattuso.

Madrid are unbeaten at home. Winning 5 and drawing 3. They’ve scored 16 goals across those 8 games and they’re at full strength in attack tonight with Benzema and Vini JR set to start with either Rodrygo or Fede Valverde in support.

Ancelotti has also told reporters that Dani Carvajal and Aurelian Tchouameni are back fit and the Frenchman will start in midfield this evening.

Ferland Mendy’s absence means another cameo for Camavinga at left back is likely, unless Ancelotti chooses to deploy Nacho there and hand a start to the returning Carvajal.

Valencia have a few absentees, most notably is starting right back Thierry Correa.

Madrid average a very impressive 2.06 xG and at home they only average 1.1 xGA.

Valencia really struggle on their travels. They average an xG of just 1.29 but an xGA of 1.50.

They haven’t won the xG battle with an opponent away from since a win at Osasuna back in early October.

With Madrid’s strength at home and Valencia shortfalls on their travels, I can only see this going one way.

Football icon Over 2.5 match cards
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I won’t beat around the bush here – Valencia are absolute lunatics.

Their games average a truly ludicrous 7.39 cards. They haven’t played a single game this season that hasn’t had 3 or more match cards.

In fact, all their away games have seen a minimum of 4, 75% of them have seen 5 or more. So we should be pretty comfortable here.

Under new management too, it’s a chance for players to make a statement. I wouldn’t be surprised to see the visitors flying in to challenges from the off.

Madrid games average 4.50 cards, 5 when they’re playing at home. Their home games this season have seen 3 or more cards in 88% of games, the same percentage for 4 or more.

They draw a lot of cards. At the Bernabeau, the visiting side is picking up an average of 3.25 cards and 75% of visiting sides have covered 3 cards on their own.

There’s no shortage of candidates. Valencia’s Yunus Musah has 7 cards in 15 games. There’s a good chance Diakhaby returns to the lineup here – he’s had 5 bookings this season.

20 different players have been booked for Valencia this season, it’s crazy.

Madrid know their way around the dark arts too and aren’t shy of picking up a card themselves especially when trying to protect a lead, which I hope they’ll be doing tonight.

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