down cross

Zidane’s mob are fragile so back Valencia to start well

Real Madrid boss under huge pressure

Real Madrid will hope Cristiano Ronaldo can lift spirits
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La Liga
3.15pm Saturday

Zinedine Zidane is set to field his holy trinity at the Mestalla on Saturday afternoon though that alone cannot guarantee success as Real Madrid's season threatens to fall apart.

Wednesday's shock home loss against Leganes in the Copa del Rey coupled with some abject failures in La Liga leaves Real with just the Champions League to go for and the pressure is piling up on Zidane.

The Frenchman needs some magic from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who are set to start a league game together for the first time this season.

That will surely lift spirits at a dispirited club though beating much-improved Valencia is unlikely to be an easy task.

Marcelino’s men have already drawn 2-2 at the Bernabeu this season and go into this game in the unusual position of not only being ahead of Los Blancos in the table, but eight points better off at that.

They too suffered a Copa del Rey defeat during the week – 2-1 at Alaves – but went through on penalties, although a shortage of centre-backs could be a massive issue.

Contenders to replace Zidane as Real Madrid manager

Ezequiel Garay is pretty much Valencia's only available central defender with Ruben Vezo and Gabriel suspended so Francis Coquelin may well have to drop into the defence.

That has to be music to the ears of Ronaldo and pals and it's easy to see plenty of goals in a fixture which almost always produces them.

Valencia have won ten and drawn two of their last 13 home games, although those defensive worries make them less attractive as a betting proposition, especially when you bear in mind that Real Madrid stuck seven past Deportivo last week, a timely reminder of their class.

Valencia will get opportunities and can take one early against a team who are fragile.

Valencia over 0.5 first-half goals
1pt 11-10 Betfair, Betway, Paddy Power

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The Frenchman needs some magic from Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, who are set to start
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Sky bet