Real Madrid - Valencia Preview: Blancos look to bounce back in cup clash
The defending Liga champions go into the first of three back-to-back encounters against los Che bereft of confidence following an insipid goalless draw against Osasuna
By Karthick Arvinth
Arbeloa, Albiol, Varane, Coentrao
Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo
Pereira, Rami, R Costa, Guardado
Banega, T Costa
Piatti, Parejo, Jonas
Real Madrid welcome back Cristiano Ronaldo and Antonio Adan from suspension for Tuesday's Copa del Rey quarter-final first leg against Valencia at the Santiago Bernabeu.
Defender Sergio Ramos remains sidelined, however, as he serves the second of his five-match ban, while Pepe is injured.
Left-back Marcelo could make his first appearance for the club since suffering a broken foot in October but Fabio Coentrao is the more likely starter.
Valencia are set to be without captain David Albelda, who picked up a calf problem in Saturday's 2-0 win over Sevilla.
Sergio Canales (knee) and Jeremy Mathieu (Achilles) remain out, while Sofiane Feghouli has joined up with Algeria for the African Cup of Nations.
|DID YOU KNOW?|
- Real Madrid have won just two of their last six matches in all competitions (W2, D2, L2).
- The Castilian giants are on a 32-match unbeaten run at the Santiago Bernabeu in all competitions.
- Should Madrid overcome Valencia, they will face the winner of the Barcelona-Malaga tie in the semi-final.
- Valencia have won seven of their last eight matches across all competitions.
- Los Che have lost five of their last seven meetings with Madrid.
- Roberto Soldado (pictured, right) has scored eight goals in his last eight appearances for Valencia.
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Top 3 Predictions
Real Madrid CF 3-1 Valencia CF
- 19.85 %
Real Madrid CF 3-0 Valencia CF
- 8.65 %
Real Madrid CF 2-1 Valencia CF
- 8.6 %
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 23, 2013||Valencia CF 1 - Real Madrid CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Jan 20, 2013||Valencia CF 0 - Real Madrid CF 5|
|Spain - Copa del Rey (ESPC)||Jan 15, 2013||Real Madrid CF 2 - Valencia CF 0|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Aug 19, 2012||Real Madrid CF 1 - Valencia CF 1|
|Spain - Primera Division (LIGA)||Apr 8, 2012||Real Madrid CF 0 - Valencia CF 0|
|Real Madrid CF|
|Dec 7, 2013||CD Olímpic de Xàtiva 0 - Real Madrid CF 0||ESPC|
|Nov 30, 2013||Real Madrid CF 4 - Valladolid 0||LIGA|
|Nov 27, 2013||Real Madrid CF 4 - Galatasaray 1||UCL|
|Nov 23, 2013||Almeria 0 - Real Madrid CF 5||LIGA|
|Nov 9, 2013||Real Madrid CF 5 - Real Sociedad 1||LIGA|
|22||Ángel Di María||Midfielder|
|18||Jose Andrés Guardado||Midfielder|
The Portuguese's absence during the weekend was sorely felt as Madrid laboured to a goalless draw at Osasuna to virtually extinguish any faint hopes they might have had of retaining the Liga title. Ronaldo will need to lead from the front and produce a couple of matchwinning performances if they are to see off an in-form Valencia side.
The Spain international will hope to continue his hot goalscoring form after netting three times in his last two matches. Soldado has the quality to capitalise on any lapses from Madrid's unfamiliar-looking central defensive pairing of Raphael Varane and Raul Albiol.
Ronaldo's return will invigorate Madrid, who simply cannot afford to lose the first leg at home given their woeful away form of late. Valencia will look to punish the hosts on the counterattack but may just fall short here.
Times In BST
Live Final scheduled Suspended Cancelled Postponed