Barcelona and AC Milan to have their title credentials tested

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It may be the Carling Cup and not the Premier League that dominates the midweek domestic schedule, but there are mouth-watering fixtures that can be witnessed in both Spain and Italy.

Real Madrid’s trip to Racing Santander and high-flying Real Betis hosting Real Zaragoza are both big games in La Liga, but there is no doubt that the real show stealer is Valencia entertaining Barcelona.

Valencia have made a 100 per cent winning start through the opening three games to sit top of the standings, but face a Barcelona side that they have beaten just once in their last ten league meetings.

However, Roberto Soldado has scored in all three of their victories so far and he may be the man to inspire them again.

Valencia are a big price at 6/1 to beat Barcelona and they face the usual problem of attempting to keep Lionel Messi quiet.

Messi has made his best ever start to a La Liga season with five goals in his opening three fixtures and is 9/4 to open the scoring.

Barcelona are 4/9 to triumph, while it is 10/3 that both teams retain their unbeaten starts to the season by sharing the points.

Meanwhile in Italy, Milan are also out to break a 100 per cent winning start of one of their leading title rivals when Udinese arrive at the San Siro.

The reigning Serie A champions could prove good value at 4/6 to beat Udinese, especially as Zlatan Ibrahimovic is set to return from injury.

However, Udinese have started promisingly despite the summer sales of influential duo Alexis Sanchez and Gokhan Inler and are 9/2 to beat Milan and keep them waiting for their first victory of the campaign.

Udinese have also lost just one of their last six games with Milan.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.