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Spanish Super Cup: In-form Real Madrid, Valencia Ready for Saudi Showdown

Real Madrid vs Valencia

For the second time in the space of just a few weeks, Real Madrid and Valencia meet again. But this time, they will do battle all the way in Saudi Arabia in the semi-final of the revamped Spanish Super Cup.

Both sides head to the Middle East boasting impressive unbeaten runs, but something’s got to give as only one team will move on to face either Barcelona or Atletico Madrid in the final.

But Los Che have been resurgent in recent months under manager Albert Celades, and as Real found out first-hand just a few weeks ago, they will be tough to beat.

 

Talking Points

Real Madrid are really hard to beat

After picking up a trio of draws in La Liga — a run started by a 1-1 stalemate at Valencia and continued with a goalless draw against Athletic Bilbao — Real Madrid got back to winning ways with a 3-0 triumph over Getafe. Centre-back Raphael Varane bagged a brace to lead Los Blancos to the comfortable victory.

 

The win extends Real’s current undefeated run in all competitions to an impressive 14 matches. They’ve won nine of those games, with five draws.

Real captain Sergio Ramos missed the Getafe match due to suspension, but he looks set to make his return to the starting line-up against Valencia.

However, the big Spanish Super Cup 2020 news for Real is that Eden Hazard remains sidelined with an ankle injury, with manager Zinedine Zidane confirming the Belgian star is sure to miss the Super Cup.

That means Gareth Bale, who got the start against Getafe, could keep his place alongside star striker Karim Benzema in the first XI.

Benzema is the team’s leading scorer with 16 goals in La Liga and the Champions League, but he has hit a bit of a dry spell of late. He’s gone scoreless in his last three games — his longest drought of the season — and has just one in his last five, with that one being his stoppage-time equaliser against Valencia.

Valencia have turned things around

After a somewhat rocky start to his tenure as Valencia manager,  Albert Celades has seemingly steadied the ship. Los Che are currently on a seven-match unbeaten run following their 1-0 win over Eibar last weekend and have lost just once in their last 12 matches in all competitions (seven wins, four draws).

Spanish Super Cup: Can Valencia upset Real Madrid  in Saudi Arabia?
Valencia manager Albert Celades watching his players from the sidelines

Valencia’s defence hasn’t been as airtight as in previous years, but they’ve still been able to grind out the results.

Los Che will be without striker Rodrigo Moreno against Real. The Spanish international striker suffered a sprained knee in their win over Eibar, which saw him go off with seven minutes remaining.

Rodrigo’s absence will be a blow to Valencia’s attack. Despite scoring just four goals this season, Rodrigo has still contributed with eight assists.

As a result of Rodrigo’s absence, Kevin Gameiro or Lee Kang-In will be in line to partner Maxi Gomez upfront. Gomez has had a fine debut season for Valencia. He’s the team’s leading scorer with seven goals in the league and scored the winner against Eibar.

Valencia usually find the net when they face Real. They’ve been held goalless just once in their last 14 meetings.

 

History

Real have had Valencia’s number in their head-to-heads. Since 1993, the two sides have played each other 59 times. Real have 32 wins to Valencia’s 13, with 14 draws.

Although, Los Che beat Los Blancos just last season at the Mestalla. Gonçalo Guedes and Ezequiel Garay got the goals for Valencia before Benzema picked up a consolation goal late in stoppage time.

Valencia have claimed two wins and four draws in their last 10 matches against Real.

 

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