Pepe is worth a punt - Real Madrid v Valladolid
Real Madrid (1/7) faced their biggest test against Seville two weeks ago and failed. Jonathan Cordingley thinks this week should prove a much lesser test and one they are expected to pass comfortably.
Their opponents at the Bernabeu are 17th placed Valladolid (11/1) who have conceded 19 goals in their last 4 visits to the stadium! A staggering statistic that suggests over 2 goals (4/11) is once again a good bet for a Real Madrid match.
However, while the visitors have only won once in their last 17 league games, Real did not fashion many chances against Sevilla without Ronaldo and it remains to be seen how well they will cope without him against any level of opposition. The return of Pepe will improve Madrid's defensive shortcomings and after his goal against Seville, I fancy the Portuguese defender to score at anytime (7/1).
With Real having one eye on their midweek Champions League match against AC Milan, coach Pellegrini is likely to substitute a few of his stars should Madrid have the game wrapped up an hour into proceedings.
With the team's lack of cohesion still a concern, such a move could open up gaps for their opponents and anybody looking for a long shot might be tempted into thinking that Valladolid's Diego Costa (who has scored 2 goals in his last 3 games) could exploit those gaps and 14/1 last goal represents good value for the in form Brazilian.
Recommendation: Pepe, anytime scorer (7/1)