Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista was shown a straight red 18 minutes from time for chopping down Vinicius with a wild tackle that almost started a brawl among players on the pitch.

The LaLiga champions climbed to 45 points in second place in the standings, five behind leaders Barcelona. Valencia, who fired manager Gennaro Gattuso on Wednesday, are on a five-game winless streak and are 14th on 20 points, one clear of the relegation zone.

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois was happy with the clean sheet and said he’s seen improvement in the team’s defence as they try to close the gap to leaders Barcelona.

“We’ve now kept three clean sheets in a row. But I’d have preferred to concede the other day and win [against Real Sociedad], the most important thing is always the three points,” Courtois said.

“Defensively we’ve improved, in Bilbao and against La Real. Today they didn’t have many chances. We did well. In the first half we didn’t score but we did in the second, and with the sending off the last 15 minutes were easier.”

Real, bidding to retain the title, are under pressure from their arch-rivals Barca who are unbeaten in their last 14 matches in all competitions and on a four-game winning streak in LaLiga.

They were the better side for large parts of the game and controlled the tempo on a chilly night in Madrid, but it took them a while to find their mojo in front of goal, with Vinicius and Karim Benzema wasting good opportunities in the first half.

Antonio Rudiger had a goal ruled out by VAR for a Benzema foul in the build-up just before half-time.

Real came out strong after the break and struck twice in two minutes, a magnificent curling shot into the top corner by Asensio after 52 minutes followed by Vinicius slotting home from close-range to finish off a lightning quick counter-attack.

The win came at a cost to Carlo Ancelotti’s side, though, as both Eder Militao and Benzema were forced off with apparent injuries and were lucky that Vinicius was able to walk away from the wild challenge by Paulista.

“I don’t know [about the red card], but we have to protect Vini. He’s very expressive on the pitch, he takes players on and defenders don’t like that,” Courtois said. “It’s typical. It’s his technique, his way of playing, we need this Vinicius to open up defences.

“I think he’s been kicked a lot and today I’m glad that a referee has been brave enough to send him off, the ball had gone, it made no sense. That has to be a sending off.”

Real Madrid play Mallorca in LaLiga on Sunday and travel to Morocco on Monday for the FIFA Club World Cup.

“This is what happens when you play every three days,” Ancelotti said of the injuries. “Militao is out for Sunday, but Benzema [injury] looks to be minor.”

Real Madrid vs. Valencia prediction, odds, start time: 2023 La Liga picks, bets for Feb. 2 by soccer insider

Soccer expert Jon Eimer has locked in his expert La Liga best bets for Valencia vs. Real Madrid on Thursday

Real Madrid look to extend their home unbeaten streak against Valencia to 17 matches when they host their Spanish La Liga showdown on Thursday. Los Blancos (13-3-2) have not lost to Los Che on their own pitch in nearly 15 years, posting 11 victories and five draws since dropping a 3-2 decision in March 2008. Valencia (5-5-8) saw their winless stretch in league play reach four games on Sunday as they suffered a 1-0 loss against Real Valladolid, which prompted the team to part ways with manager Gennaro Gattuso.

Kickoff at Santiago Bernabeu Stadium is set for 3 p.m. ET. Los Blancos are -310 favorites (risk $310 to win $100) in the latest Real Madrid vs. Valencia odds from Caesars Sportsbook, while Los Che are +800 underdogs. A 90-minute draw is priced at +410 and the over/under for total goals scored is 2.5. Before locking in any Valencia vs. Real Madrid picks, you need to see what proven SportsLine soccer insider Jon “Buckets” Eimer has to say.

Eimer is a high-volume bettor who has vast knowledge of leagues and players across the globe. Since joining SportsLine, Eimer has covered the English Premier League, Serie A, the FA Cup and much more.

He is 22-7 (+17.03) on all soccer article predictions for SportsLine in 2023, bringing a profit of more than $1,700 for $100 bettors. He also is a stunning 64-28-1 (69%) on his Premier League picks for SportsLine since the start of 2022 for a profit of more than $3,000. Anyone who follows him is way up.

Now, Eimer has broken down Real Madrid vs. Valencia from every angle and just revealed his picks and predictions. You can head to SportsLine now to see Eimer’s picks. Here are the betting lines and trends for Valencia vs. Real Madrid:

Real Madrid vs. Valencia money line: Real Madrid -310, Valencia +800, Draw +410
Real Madrid vs. Valencia over/under: 2.5 goals
Real Madrid vs. Valencia spread: Real Madrid -1.5 (-105)
RM: Los Blancos are 11-5-0 in their last 16 home meetings with Valencia
VAL: Los Che have failed to score in two of their last three La Liga matches
Real Madrid vs. Valencia picks: See picks at SportsLine

Why you should back Real Madrid
Los Blancos have won three straight La Liga meetings with Valencia and also were victorious in their matchup in the Spanish Super Cup semifinals last month, winning 4-3 on penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 draw. Karim Benzema continued to be a thorn in the side of Los Che in that contest, scoring Real Madrid’s lone goal before converting their first shootout attempt.

Benzema has tallied in seven consecutive encounters with Valencia during La Liga play, registering a total of nine goals in that span. The 35-year-old French striker scored twice in their last league match, a 4-1 home victory, while Brazilian winger Vinicius Junior also netted a pair of tallies. Benzema ranks third in La Liga this season with nine goals while Vinicius and Uruguayan midfielder Federico Valverde have recorded six apiece.

Why you should back Valencia
Los Che proved they can compete with Real Madrid in their Spanish Super Cup battle. They erased a deficit on Samuel Lino’s goal in the 46th minute and kept Los Blancos in check after Benzema’s goal in the 39th minute. On loan from Atletico Madrid, the 23-year-old recorded 12 goals for Gil Vicente of the Primeira Liga in 2021-22 and tallied in three of six matches across all competitions before his current three-game drought.

Striker Edinson Cavani, who also is in his first season with Valencia after spending the previous two with Manchester United of the English Premier League, leads the team with five goals. The 35-year-old from Uruguay is looking to end his own three-game drought that began after he recorded a brace against Sporting Gijon in the Copa del Rey on Jan. 18. Dutch winger Justin Kluivert is second on Los Che with three goals and midfielder Hugo Guillamon is tied for sixth in La Liga with four assists.

How to make Real Madrid vs. Valencia picks
Eimer has broken down the Spanish La Liga match from every angle. He is leaning Over on the goal total and has locked in two other best bets, one of which offers a plus-money payout. You can only see his La Liga picks and analysis at SportsLine.

Spanish La Liga: Real Madrid vs. Valencia

Vinicius Junior (C) of Real Madrid competes during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Dani Ceballos (R) of Real Madrid vies with Hugo Guillamon of Valencia CF during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Dani Ceballos (front L) of Real Madrid vies with Samu Castillejo (front R) of Valencia CF during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Karim Benzema (R) of Real Madrid vies with Dimitri Foulquier of Valencia CF during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Eduardo Camavinga (L) of Real Madrid vies with Yunus Musah (R) of Valencia CF during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Vinicius Junior of Real Madrid reacts during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Marco Asensio (top) of Real Madrid celebrates his goal with teammates during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Vinicius Junior (3rd L) of Real Madrid celebrates his goal with teammates during a Spanish La Liga football match between Real Madrid and Valencia CF in Madrid, Spain, Feb. 2, 2023. (Photo by Gustavo Valiente/Xinhua)

Real Madrid vs. Valencia: Free live stream, TV, how to watch La Liga soccer

Real Madrid has yet to lose a matchup in its home stadium and will look to keep that streak alie with a game against Valencia at p.m. on Thursday.

The match will air on ESPN Deportes (Spanish only) and ESPN+ and can be streamed on fuboTV.

Real Madrid is currently eight points behidn first place Barcelona, and will look to narrow the narrow the margin. Karim Benzema leads the way with nine goals this season, followed by Vinicius Júnior and Federico Valverde with six.

As for Valencia, this will be its first game after parting ways with manager Gennaro Gattuso due to the teams poor record, competing to five win, five draws, and eight losses.

Real Madrid vs. Valencia (La Liga)

What time does the match start? Can I watch it on TV? – Thursday’s match will start at 3 p.m. EST at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid, Spain. It will air on ESPN Deportes (Spanish only) and can be streamed on ESPN+. It’s also offered on fuboTV (Spanish only).

Live stream info: The game will air on ESPN+, which is ESPN’s streaming service that requires a subscription. It’s also offered on fuboTV (Spanish only).

More via the Associated Press:

A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Thursday:


Real Madrid hosts Valencia in a league match postponed from January because of the teams’ participation in the Spanish Super Cup. Madrid and Valencia played in the semifinals of the tournament in Saudi Arabia, with Madrid advancing in a penalty shootout before eventually losing the final to Barcelona. Madrid needs a win at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium to stay close to league leader Barcelona. It will be Valencia’s first game without coach Gennaro Gattuso, whose contract was terminated by mutual agreement amid the team’s poor run. Valencia has won only one of its last 10 league games and is one point above the relegation zone. Its only two wins this year came in the Copa del Rey.


Juventus will try to put its league misery behind it when it hosts Lazio with a place in the Italian Cup semifinals at stake. Juventus was penalized 15 points last month for false accounting and that, coupled with poor results has left it just 10 points above the relegation zone. Sunday’s 2-0 loss at home to Monza was preceded by a draw against Atalanta and a hefty 5-1 loss at Napoli. Juventus has won the trophy a record 14 times however. Lazio is undefeated in its past five matches but lost 3-0 at Juventus in the league in November. The winner will face holder Inter Milan in a two-legged semifinal in April.

Real Madrid vs Valencia : Lineups & LIVE Updates

Real Madrid will be looking to return to winning ways when they welcome relegation-battlers Valencia to the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday night

Having recently met in the semi-finals of the Supercopa de Espana, Real Madrid and Valencia square off in a rescheduled La Liga fixture.

Los Blancos prevailed on penalties after a stalemate in that encounter in Saudi Arabia, but have been inconsistent in recent weeks.

Although they are having another strong season, the reigning champions of Spain and Europe are experiencing somewhat a rocky stretch.

First of all, the Merengues lost in Super Cup final to perennial rivals Barcelona. They then struggled with Villarreal in Copa del Rey, winning 3-2 after coming back from a 2-0 deficit.

Finally, they were held to a score-less draw by Real Sociedad in their most recent La Liga fixture, leaving them five points behind leaders Barcelona. Carlo Ancelotti’s men will now have to put pressure on the Blaugrana and try to pull them back.

Valencia, meanwhile, have endured a disappointing campaign and come into this fixture only one point above the relegation zone.

The Gennaro Gattuso era at Valencia came to a sour end this week after just seven months at the helm, leaving Los Che in complete mess as they prepare for Real Madrid on Thursday.

A 1-0 loss to Real Valladolid on Sunday means they have collected just one point from their last four league games, which makes this an inviting fixture for the hosts as they try to get back to winning ways— but Los Blancos will need to be more clinical here after firing a blank despite creating plethora of chances against Sociedad last time out.

Real Madrid vs Valencia confirmed lineups
Real Madrid XI (4-3-3): Courtois; Nacho, Militao, Rudiger, Camavinga; Modric, Kroos, Ceballos; Asensio, Benzema, Vinicius Jr

Valencia XI (4-3-3): Mamardashvili; Foulquier, Gabriel, Diakhaby, Gaya; Musah, Guillamon, Almeida, Castillejo; Cavani, Lino

Real Madrid vs Valencia LIVE updates

Real Madrid’s upcoming games
After hosting Valencia, Real Madrid will make the trip to Iberostar Estadia on 5th February to take on Mallorca in another La Liga fixture before flying to Morocco for the Club World Cup where they will meet one of Seattle Sounders, Al Ahly, or Auckland City in the semi-final on 8th February.