After the glamour of Tuesday night’s dramatic Champions League showdown with Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid travel to the less spectacular surroundings of the Estadio Ciudad de Valencia to face a Levante team who are once again surpassing all expectations this season.
Having to juggle a European campaign with domestic duties for the first time in their history, many felt Levante’s exceptional performance last season could leave them susceptible to relegation.Indeed the team from Valencia may yet struggle, but they enter this weekend’s round of matches sixth in the table and going extremely well in the Europa League.
Having won two of their previous three home meetings against Madrid, Levante can be backed at 8/1 while Los Blancos are offered at 3/10.
Jose Mourinho will remember anxiously the insipid performance his team put in during the corresponding fixture last season with Madrid suffering their only away defeat of a record breaking campaign at Levante.
Yet despite missing both first choice strikers in Karim Benzema and Gonzalo Higuain, the champions should still have too much fire power for a Levante side who have failed to score in any of their last three matches.
The price of 39/50 for a Madrid win, when giving Levante a 1-0 head start, looks extremely appealing. Essentially we are backing Mourinho’s men to win by two goals or more, and with this bet having paid out in four of their last five league games (the exception coming in the Camp Nou) it looks a pretty solid selection.
In the first scorer market, Cristiano Ronaldo looks an even better bet than normal at 19/10 to open the scoring given that he will almost certainly be playing in a more central role with the absences of Benzema and Higuain. He can be backed at the same price to score twice or more, and with six goals in his last four league meetings against Levante he looks being the best option once again to back in the first scorer market.