In the heat of Saudi Arabia, the rejigged Spanish Supercup is ready to get underway with Valencia vs. Real Madrid.
The RFEF have expanded the tournament from a two-legged curtain-raiser between the previous season’s league and cup winners to a mid-season single-leg tournament with four teams — the winners and runners-up of both La Liga and the Copa del Rey — to be held in Saudi Arabia for reasons which make precious little sense.
Los Blancos and Los Che have already played out a 1-1 draw this season but this time, there is a spot in the final and the chance for trophy success on the line. Madrid’s last appearance in the competition was winning it in 2018, while Valencia haven’t appeared in it for a decade longer, finishing runners-up (to Madrid) back in 2008.
Read on for our Valencia vs. Real Madrid preview, predictions, team news and TV coverage information.
When is Valencia vs. Real Madrid and where can I watch live?
Competition: Spanish Super Cup
Venue: King Abdullah Sports City, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia
Date: Wednesday, 8 January 2020
Kick-off: 7:00 PM (UK time)
TV coverage (UK): Unfortunately, the Spanish Super Cup will not be shown live on UK TV.
Last five meetings: Valencia vs. Real Madrid
15 December 2019: Valencia 1-1 Real Madrid (La Liga)
3 April 2019: Valencia 2-1 Real Madrid (La Liga)
1 December 2018: Real Madrid 2-0 Valencia (La Liga)
27 January 2018: Valencia 1-4 Real Madrid (La Liga)
27 August 2017: Real Madrid 2-2 Valencia (La Liga)
Aggregate Score: Valencia (DWLLD) 6-10 Real Madrid (DLWWD)
Ones to watch
Valencia: Dani Parejo
The Real Madrid youth product has developed into a massive leader for Los Che. Wearing the captain’s armband, he controls the tempo of games with great assurance, flinging sumptuous passes forward from his midfield berth. He has a habit of doing particularly well against Spain’s big two (he excelled in last season’s Copa del Rey final victory over Barcelona) and will be out to guide Los Che into Sunday’s showpiece.
Key stat: Dani Parejo has created more chances (33) and won more tackles (33) than any other Valencia player so far this season.
Real Madrid: Fede Valverde
Real Madrid spent all summer trying to sign Paul Pogba when the solution to their midfield woes was at the club all along. Fede Valverde is just 21 years old but has already made himself indispensable. The Uruguayan’s energy and athleticism allow him to both cover for his attack-minded compatriots (and enable Casemiro to just tackle everything in sight) but also drive forward beyond opposing midfielders and make telling contributions in the box. He does a little bit of everything to keep Los Blancos ticking over.
Key stat: Valverde is the only Real Madrid midfielder with at least 10 chances created (11), shots (12), dribbles completed (10), tackles (16) and interceptions (12). All-rounder.
Los Che are in pretty good health ahead of the Supercopa semi-final. They have travelled to Saudi Arabia with pretty much a full squad, even though there has been no official word on Goncalo Guedes. The Portuguese hasn’t played since early October but is on the flight nevertheless, so he could play a small part off the bench.
Predicted XI: Domenech; Wass, Gabriel, Garay, Gaya; Coquelin, Parejo; Torres, Soler, Rodrigo, Maxi.
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Los Blancos are hurting pretty bad on the injury front. Marco Asensio is still out and joining him are Eden Hazard, Gareth Bale (who the club say has a respiratory problem) and, most worryingly, their star man so far this season; Karim Benzema. The Frenchman has a muscular issue and hasn’t even travelled to Saudi.
Predicted XI: Courtois; Carvajal, Varane, Ramos, Marcelo; Casemiro, Valverde, Kroos; Rodrygo, Vinicius, Jovic.
Madrid’s defence is really starting to come into its own, posting three consecutive clean sheets off the back of some magnificent Thibaut Courtois performances and the reliable brilliance of Raphael Varane. However, their attack has been spluttering of late and that’s despite Benzema playing phenomenally (he’s their top scorer with 16 goals and second place Rodrygo has just six).
Without Benzema, you can see Madrid having a hard time breaking Valencia down. Los Che were actually the last side to score against Courtois, a game that was rescued for Los Blancos by a stoppage-time equaliser from who else but Benzema. Valencia will be out to repeat that performance and will sit deep and break on Madrid with their young wide men, looking to hurt their opponents in transition. They will find Thibaut Courtois a mighty obstacle but thanks to Madrid’s injuries, they will have enough confidence and quality to get it done. Just.