MADRID, SPAIN. Real Madrid are hosts here as they look to keep a firm grip on second place, while Real Valladolid are the visitors who are currently in 12th place and still feel they have work to do in regards to top flight safety. Madrid are clear favourites at 1/5 with William Hill and Coral while Valladolid are 16/1 with Paddy Power and BetVictor. The draw is 15/2 with BetVictor.
Real Madrid were eliminated from the Champions League midweek despite a brief late revival, and now have little to play for other than securing second place and winning the Copa del Rey. The victory over local rivals Atlético Madrid last weekend went some way to doing that, and now they can't let themselves have a European hangover. Madrid will play again on Wednesday in rearranged fixture too, so expect rotations.
Raúl Albiol is out suspended while Sergio Ramos joins the injury list with a muscle problem, while full-backs Marcelo and Álvaro Arbeloa are still injured. Starts meanwhile are expected for the likes of Pepe and Karim Benzema. José Mourinho's men are on a 28-match unbeaten streak on home soil in La Liga stretching back to December 2011, so will be extremely confident of extending that despite the amount of rotations. Mourinho's flirting with other clubs this week has been in the news and how his team react to that will be interesting to see also.
Real Valladolid meanwhile managed an impressive draw with Sevilla last weekend, but will need more points to make sure they're mathematically safe. Form has been shaky however with just one win in their last eight games in La Liga. Miroslav Djukic has told his players to go for the win here and as ever Valladolid won't be intimidated and will look to keep up all the hallmarks of their football. A decision will need to be made on Manucho or Javi Guerra in terms of leading the line, and although the former has been favoured much of the season Guerra's goal against Sevilla gives him an edge perhaps.
Injury concerns are finally not an issue for Djukic anymore, and after a tough time of it he can finally look to a fully fit squad. Jaime looks set to continue in goal after an impressive two-game run, with the Spaniard offering a secure presence recently. Despite Madrid having a little to play for here, Valladolid's away form of one win in nine outings goes against them and this will be a genuine struggle at Bernabéú. As ever they'll look to soak up pressure and use the ball intelligently when they do gain spells of possession, they're a sensible team and will look to make sure few risks are taken here.
We'll start with the Over/Under market. There have been Over 2.5 goals scored in 8 of Madrid's last 9 home games in La Liga, and I can see them bouncing back from their midweek exit in the Champions League in style here. Over 2.5 goals is what I'm backing and it can be found at 3/10 with Boylesports. However, if you see Madrid suffering from midweek and lacking the motivation then Under 2.5 goals is best found at 10/3 with Coral and BetVictor. I still think the roated players will have something to prove though, with some who haven't been in the best of form out to prove they're still interested.
Next to Half-Time/Full-Time. Madrid have been winning at both HT and FT in 5 of their last 6 home matches against Valladolid in all competitions, and I expect them to continue that run here. Madrid/Madrid is 8/15 with Paddy Power and BetVictor. Valladolid simply won't have enough here and although the score may not get out of hand, it should be easy work for Madrid in general. The seven game winning streak Madrid are on at home will play a big part here, with Bernabéu a real fortress. The only other area I'd venture into would be Draw/Madrid, which is 10/3 with Bet 3675 and Betfred.
Finally to First Goalscorer. Mesut Özil has four goals in his last two Liga appearances, so being the man in form it would be sensible to back him here. The German can be found at 10/1 with Ladbrokes. Karim Benzema meanwhile is set to start and the Frenchman needs to impress with his future at the club on the line, and Ladbrokes go 4/1 on him to open things up. You obviously can't ignore Cristiano Ronaldo though and the top scorer at the club is 9/5 with Paddy Power. For Valladolid meanwhile Javi Guerra grabbed a superb goal last weekend and the Spanish striker is 14/1 with Paddy Power and Ladbrokes.
The game kicks off at 19:00 GMT and will be shown live on Sky Sports 1 HD.