On Sunday night, Real Madrid will travel to Valencia to face the surprise second-place team in LaLiga on Matchday 5. The Bats, as they are known, struggled last season after a firesale, but they have been off to the races in 2021-2022. Both Real and Valencia are tied at the top of the table with 10 points and a goal differential of +7.
Los Blancos are the mighty team in LaLiga, but they have struggled at the Mestalla recently. It is always a tricky place to play, especially with fans back. Last year, Real Madrid lost 4-1 to Valencia at this venue due to a hattrick of penalties from Carlos Soler. The year before, Real needed some last-minute heroics from Thibaut Courtois and Karim Benzema to salvage a point.
Real Madrid have not beaten Valencia at the Mestalla since the 2017-2018 season in a 4-1 win in which Cristiano Ronaldo converted twice from the spot, with current players Toni Kroos and Marcelo adding goals of their own.
But here are three reasons why Los Merengues will finally get a win at this difficult ground on Sunday night.
Real Madrid have the left back situation figured out
Ferland Mendy’s injury has affected Real Madrid defensively, but unlike last season, Los Blancos actually have good options in case Mendy is out. Last time out, Marcelo had to start at left back against Valencia, and he produced an atrocious performance. It was hard to believe a player with his experience could make the mistakes that he did in that match.
In 2021-2022, Real Madrid have two great players who can start at left back whenever Mendy is not available. David Alaba was one of the best fullbacks in the world at Bayern Munich, but the Austrian is technically the third option. He is locked in as a starting center back, showing his class at the position against Lautaro Martinez, Edin Dzeko, and Inter Milan at mid-week.
So the likely starter for Real Madrid at Valencia will be Miguel Gutierrez, a future world-class left back if all goes well. He impressed in the second half against Celta Vigo last weekend and against Real Betis prior to that. Miguel’s emergence is an underrated advantage for Real at the Mestalla.