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Spanish Super Cup semi-finals preview: Valencia seek big shock

The Spanish Super Cup semi-finals take centre stage on Wednesday and Thursday as Real Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona and Real Betis battle it out for supremacy.

The La Liga quartet travel to the King Fahd International Stadium in Riyadh, hoping to showcase their talents, and one of the heavyweight four will be crowned champions in Sunday's showpiece.

Real Madrid and Valencia get the action underway on Wednesday evening and Los Blancos, last season's Super Cup victors, are 8/15 to win the tie in 90 minutes.

Thursday's spectacle sees La Liga leaders Barcelona tackle Copa del Rey champions Real Betis, and the Catalan giants are 1/2 to record victory in regulation time.

Defending champions to triumph in a thriller

WhatReal Madrid v Valencia
WhereKing Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
When19:00, Wednesday 11th January
OddsReal Madrid 8/15, Draw 10/3, Valencia 19/4

Both Real Madrid and Valencia need to bounce back from weekend defeats in La Liga and Los Blancos should be more confident about their chances in this semi-final showdown.

While second-placed Real Madrid suffered a 2-1 loss on their trip to Villarreal on Saturday, Valencia were beaten 1-0 at home by third-bottom Cadiz.

But while the Madrid side's defeat looks more of a blip, Valencia have now won just two of their 10 La Liga fixtures since mid-September and confidence is low in the camp.

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Gennaro Gattuso's men find themselves 11th in La Liga and, while they haven't yet played Real this season, the Bats have won just once in six meetings with top-seven outfits this term.

That simply won't cut it against a Real Madrid attack spearheaded by Ballon d'or winner Karim Benzema and brilliant Brazilians Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo.

However, Carlo Ancelotti's team are nursing a couple of injuries, with David Alaba and Aurelien Tchouameni set to miss out, which may offer Valencia some hope going forward.

For all their attacking flair, Real have managed just three clean sheets in 16 league games this term and that is despite winning 12 of those contests.

Ancelotti's men also conceded in their final four games of the Champions League group stage, so there could be a consolation goal in it for the visitors.

Valencia may struggle to nullify Real in forward areas but they are usually good for a goal, too, having failed to score in only two of their last 13 league encounters.

Interestingly, last season Real won both La Liga meetings with Valencia but they did concede on both occasions.

In fact, both teams have netted in 17 of the last 20 encounters between the sides, which could be a useful guide for punters at 4/5.

But it is tough to see Valencia standing firm for 90 minutes so the value could lie with Real Madrid winning and both teams scoring at 9/4.

Stubborn Barca should enjoy more success

WhatReal Betis v Barcelona
WhereKing Fahd International Stadium, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
When19:00, Thursday 12th January
OddsReal Betis 11/2, Draw 10/3, Barcelona 1/2

Barcelona have stamped their early authority on the La Liga title race and the Catalan giants should enjoy more success in their Spanish Super Cup semi-final with Real Betis.

Barca are three-points clear of Real Madrid at the La Liga summit, having lost just once in 16 outings, and defensive discipline has been instrumental to their early-season success.

Xavi's men boast the best defence in La Liga by some way with only six goals conceded, which is six fewer than Villarreal who have the second strongest rearguard.

Barcelona should be full of heart after Sunday's hard-fought 1-0 win at Atletico Madrid, which was their 12th clean sheet of the La Liga campaign.

That doesn't bode well for Thursday's opponents Real Betis, whose tally of 19 goals in 16 league games is better than only two teams in the current top 12.

Defensively Betis are also pretty reliable, however, with only 13 goals conceded so this could be a tight match short on attacking verve.

Under 2.5 goals, which has landed in four of Barcelona's last five league games, is a 13/10 chance worth considering.

Barcelona are 1/2 To Win In 90 minutes but greater value can be achieved by backing the favourites To Win To Nil, which is available at 7/4.

Those looking for a goalscorer option may find it difficult to desert prolific Pole Robert Lewandowski, who has settled in so effortlessly following his switch from Bayern Munich with 18 goals in 20 games in all competitions.

Lewandowski is 13/5 To Score First and 8/13 To Score At Any Time but there could be more value in siding with World Cup runner-up Ousmane Dembele, who is 6/4 to score in a third consecutive match.

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