Last weekend’s 5-1 El Clasico defeat to Barcelona was the final straw for Real Madrid manager Julen Lopetegui. Santiago Solari is now charged with getting Los Blancos back on track.
The interim manager started well, with victory against Melilla in the Copa Del Rey on Wednesday night. But Real Valladolid will provide a much sterner test.
We’ve previewed that match, alongside a hat-trick of others, in our La Liga preview.
Real Madrid v Real Valladolid (3:15pm, Saturday)
It’s hard to believe just how contrasting the respective form is of these two sides. Real are winless in five La Liga matches, while Valladolid are unbeaten in the same spell – winning four.
Their defence has been watertight in that run. Sergio Gonzalez’s men have conceded just once in the last 403 minutes of league football. Even against Barcelona in August they only lost 1-0.
That points towards a close encounter at the Bernabeu against a Los Blancos side still struggling in-front of goal. There’s 2/1 about Under 2.5 Goals, while a rejuvenated Real are 9/1 to edge the contest 1-0. It’s even-money for the hosts to Win to Nil.
Leganes v Atletico Madrid (12pm, Saturday)
There’s not much history to go on between these two teams. But what history there is, combined with recent league form, points towards an Atletico win at 4/6.
Diego Simeone’s men boast the division’s best defensive record. They’ve also yet to concede a goal in four matches with Leganes – winning 2-0 and 4-0 either side of a pair of 0-0 draws.
Rayo Vallecano v Barcelona (7:45pm, Saturday)
After a three-match winless run in late-September, Barcelona are back in business. The Catalan club have won their last four, and with Lionel Messi back in training, are 2/7 to win this one.
Even without the Argentine ace, Luis Suarez and co. should have little trouble dispatching a Vallecano side which has proved incapable of handling matches against Barca.
Eibar v Alaves (11am, Sunday)
With almost a third of the season gone, not many people would have had Alaves down as Barcelona’s nearest challengers in La Liga. Yet the Basque are doing just that.
The 2001 UEFA Cup Finalists are second in the table with six wins from 10 matches. They’ve edged five of those by a single goal. That leads us to think this one could be tight against lowly Eibar.
Click here for the latest La Liga odds.
All Odds and Markets correct as of date of publication