Valladolid unlikely to pose Los Blancos problems

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Real Madrid should have too much quality for hosts Valladolid in La Liga on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane

Real Madrid will expect to stay in contention in the La Liga title race with a comfortable victory over struggling Real Valladolid on Saturday evening.

City rivals Atletico remain out in front in Spain but Zinedine Zidane’s side are perfectly placed in second to profit from any slip-ups over the next few weeks from their neighbours.

Real Madrid on a Roll

Los Blancos have bounced back well from a 2-1 home defeat against Levante at the end of January to record three successive victories, beating Huesca, Getafe and Valencia.

It’s no surprise the visitors are 20/33 favourites to win the game and they should prevail fairly comfortably at the Estadio Municipal Jose Zorrilla, despite ongoing injury problems.

Karim Benzema and Dani Carvajal are the latest players added to a list of absentees that includes Eden Hazard, Marcelo, Eder Militao, Sergio Ramos and Federico Valverde but even shorn of several key men, Madrid should have more than enough to see off third-bottom Valladolid.

Sergio Gonzalez’s side dug in for a 1-1 draw away to Eibar last weekend but they’re without a win in six matches going back to the start of January and appear destined for a relegation scrap this spring.

Another Clean Sheet Likely

Zidane’s men have demonstrated their solidity at the back of late with two consecutive clean sheets and they have the third-best defensive record in the division, conceding just 19 from 23 games. Real Madrid to win to nil once again appeals at 29/20.

Barca can React to PSG Loss

There are four games in La Liga on Sunday, kicking off with Barcelona at home to Cadiz at 1pm, as Ronald Koeman hopes for a reaction following the disappointing 4-1 defeat at Camp Nou against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League in midweek.

Barca may be on the verge of going out of Europe but their league form has been impressive over the winter. The Catalans are currently on a 12-game unbeaten run, winning 10, and they hammered Deportivo Alaves 5-1 last weekend.

Cadiz, in contrast, slumped to a 4-0 defeat at home to Athletic Bilbao last time and have lost four of their last five games, drawing the other. They did inflict a shock 2-1 defeat on Barca in the corresponding fixture earlier in the season but a repeat of that triumph looks remote.

Further examination of their recent results shows they have conceded four goals in each of their last three games so it seems wise to back plenty of goals in this clash, with over 3.5 at 1/1 catching the eye.

Bilbao to Edge out Villarreal

The 8pm game on Sunday sees Athletic Club host Villarreal and a home win, on offer at 31/20, looks to be the way to go in this.

As previously mentioned, Bilbao thumped Cadiz 4-0 in their most recent game and they’re unbeaten in their last four in all competitions since going down narrowly to a 2-1 defeat at Barcelona at the end of January.

Villarreal, who are seventh, are eight points and three places better off than Sunday’s opponents but they’ve been in frustrating form of late, drawing four of their last five games and losing the other, a 2-1 home defeat to Betis last weekend. The previous match between them earlier in the season was a tight 1-1 draw but Bilbao can edge this one to boost their hopes of muscling in on the European places.

*All odds correct at time of writing

A sports journalist for over 15 years, Aidan has been part of written and audio coverage on a wide-ranging number of events. Having played and coached at amateur level, he offers in-depth insight and opinion into the world of football in particular.

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