Two teams with exciting new European prospects must park their cup dreams and concentrate on the league when Real Madrid host Valencia in Spain's top flight this weekend. Can Valencia do Barcelona a favour?

The Spanish press is awash with talk of the Champions League (with Real being 4/9 to reach the final) and Europa League (Valencia are 5/6 to reach the final and 5/2 to actually win it). But they both need to refocus, for two very different reasons back in La Liga on when they meet on Sunday.

With just eight games left in the Spanish top flight Real Madrid will be looking to close in on yet another title (and are 2/7 with the sportsbooks to do it). Los Blancos are just eight points clear of Barcelona, their closest rivals (who are 10/3 to win the league), and with 24 points to play for, the league is far from a foregone conclusion so they’ll be expecting another tidy three points off third place Valencia, and the bookies reckon they’ll do it, Madrid are 1/5 favourites in the soccer odds for this match.

Spain being Spain, after the top two teams there is a significant drop-off to third place, so although Valencia are only two league places behind Real Madrid the more significant fact is that they are 30 points behind the league leaders (and are 4/6 to finish the season in third place). While Real Madrid will be keen to keep a buffer between them and Barcelona, Valencia have issues of their own. Los Che are just nine points ahead of Benzema10th place Getafe and are heading a pack of seven teams who have all scored more than 40 point. They could do with an easier opponent than Madrid at this stage of the season especially as Valencia have been in stuttering form of late, recording two wins in their last eight matches, although half of their remaining six were drawn.

Spanish cups runeth over

With league success a mathematical impossibility Valencia will look to the Europa League for the chance of silverware. They head into the semi-finals of the competition for the first time since 2004 (the year they last won the trophy) a fact that will benefit Madrid in their league clash.

Real Madrid and their special coach, Jose Mourinho, are bordering on the blasé ahead of their Champions league semi-final after their 5-2 win over APOEL at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday and Mourinho has too much experience to let cup possibilities distract from League commitments. Real Madrid are indeed on scintillating form of late they've won four games on the bounce, scoring five goals in three of them and conceding just five goals overall in their last five games.

Valencia may look on their last victory (a 4-0 victory over AZ Alkmaar that puts them in the semi-finals) with pride, but the fact of the matter is in their last five games they’ve played, they had one victory, one draw and three defeats in all competitions, clocking up eight goals and conceding the same amount. While equal goals scored / conceded is hardly the end of the world, if you ignore their latest Europa League victory the stats would look considerably different, with eight goals conceded and only four scored.

It seems very much that with this game the question is not who will win but how much Real Madrid win by.

In the last five head-to-head meetings between these two clubs (all in La Liga and running back to December 2009) it's all about Madrid with five clear victories. This time the visitors are 12/1 to leave with all three points (and 6/1 to manage a draw).

A closer look at the soccer betting stats makes even less welcome reading for Valencia as the last two times Madrid have hosted this fixture they comfortably shutout Valencia and won by two clear goals. 2-0 this time around is available at 7/1. At home Valencia do slightly better have against Real Madrid although they still tend to lose, and two of the last three meetings between the clubs at Valencia have ended 3-2 and that score is available at 20/1.

A game of two halves

Don't bet on a manic Sunday result in this match as everything points to a home victory, but if you want to try and cheer in some extra money invest heavily in Madrid winning both halves; which is available at 8/15 or if you're feeling brave throw in a few pounds on Valencia leading at the break but Madrid taking the game on 90 mins which is available at 22/1. If you're feeling downright simple back Valencia to win both halves at 26/1.

A smarter investor will spread their soccer picks across several scores in Madrid's favour. I’m expecting to see plenty of money on 3-0, 4-0 and 5-0 at 15/2, 11/1 and 18/1 respectively. But my money knows that Madrid have conceded goals in their last three league outings and Valencia have scored in each of their last four games so I’ll be having cash on  3-1, 4-1 and 5-1 at 9/1, 12/1 and 18/1.

Prediction: 4-1 to Madrid