Real Madrid: 3 things to look forward to against Valencia

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images)
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid will face Valencia at the Mestalla on Sunday night, and nobody in the dressing room will be underestimating the importance of this fixture.

It feels like Real Madrid are back on the right track. In their last two La Liga fixtures, they have beaten Barcelona and Huesca soundly. And in the Champions League, they are coming off a gutsy 3-2 win over Inter Milan, which was preceded by a furious second-half comeback on the road against a very underrated Borussia Monchengladbach side.

So this Sunday, Los Blancos will have all the confidence heading into their fixture against Valencia, who currently sit 13th in the table.

But there are a couple of reasons not to underestimate Valencia, no matter the shape they are in. Valencia are never easy to play at the Mestalla; they always give Real problems. Secondly, they may be in 13th, but they are tied on points with Barcelona, one point ahead of Sevilla, and one point behind Athletic Club. Wild, right? So in this wild start to the 2020-2021 La Liga campaign, do not take any result for granted. Look no further than Cadiz.

Still, there are plenty of reasons for Madridistas to be excited for this fixture. Here are three of them.

Martin Odegaard’s potential return

According to Managing Madrid’s Lucas Navarette, Real Madrid attacking midfielder Martin Odegaard returned to training on Wednesday and looks poised to make his return to the squad this Sunday.

Odegaard probably won’t start right away. Real Madrid have their top midfield quartet in Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, Fede Valverde, and Casemiro established. And Zinedine Zidane will need to ease Odegaard back, as the player has been out since around the last international break.

More from The Real Champs

The chance of seeing him back on the pitch for about 15 minutes is exciting, though. Odegaard has all the tools to be the future of Real Madrid and even the present. He is a world-class passer who brings a different element of creativity to the side – one that even Isco can’t provide.

An elusive win at the Mestalla

It isn’t easy winning at the Mestalla, because Valencia recognize, like any team in La Liga, the importance of making an impression in their legendary home stadium against such a prolific European side.

Real Madrid have targets on their backs, and that target is magnified against Valencia, who don’t want to be disrespected by another big club in Spain.

Valencia are in trouble financially and struggling this season, but they still have some good players. Maxi Gomez and Carlos Soler are stars, and Jose Gaya is one of La Liga’s top left backs. A goal-scorer against Getafe, American Yunus Musah is another player to watch.

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images) /

But Real Madrid are fully expected to win this Sunday. They are the stronger side, and they have picked up their performances. The last time they played at the Mestalla, they needed a last-gasp winner from Karim Benzema off a corner, which involved Thibaut Courtois helping out, to salvage a point. There should be no difficulties this time, especially with Valencia no longer having Madrid nightmare Ferran Torres.

Karim Benzema scoring more goals for Real Madrid

Karim Benzema started the 2020-2021 season slowly, scoring just one goal in his first seven games. That was a cause for concern, but, as expected, Benzema has picked up his scoring in recent matches.

Benz had a crucial goal in the comeback against Borussia Monchengladbach one week ago. Then over the weekend, he nabbed his first brace of the season against Huesca in Eden Hazard’s first start of the campaign. And on Tuesday night at the Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, Benzema added a second Champions League goal in the 3-2 win over Inter Milan.

Next. Ranking Real Madrid's Best Forwards Of The 2010's. dark

He’ll be ready to add more goals to his tally against Valencia. When Hazard is in the lineup and Benzema is riding a hot streak, it feels like defenses are powerless against him. Look for him to continue his run of form on Sunday night.