Week 8 – La Liga, Spain
Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid, Spain
October 23rd, 2010, 11:30 PM IST
After totally whipping Milan aside on Tuesday, La Liga action resumes for Real Madrid as they host a struggling Racing Santander in week eight. Sergio Canales will be reunited with his old club mates, but will be geared up to help his new team mates at Real Madrid defeat Racing. There has been very little focus on this game, since the media are still in the hangover of praising Real Madrid for their commanding performance in mid-week in the Champions League.
A near perfect start
Real Madrid has made a near perfect start to the league campaign, winning five games and drawing two of the seven games so far, the only glitches coming against Mallorca in week one and Levante in week five. But ever since that, there’s been no turning back for the “Men In White”, as they first dismantled Deportivo 6-1 and then trashed Malaga 1-4 at the La Rosaleda. If there’s any bet against them that they would lose this game at home to Racing, surely the one to bet would be really brave. Jose Mourinho has started to make this team look unbeatable. The early concerns of Real Madrid struggling to score goals have disappeared, as the front men have started finding their feet. In this game, Real Madrid will be looking to put another commanding performance both in defence and in attack, as they look to hold on to their pole position.
No way near to a perfect start
There are teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona who consider the start to a campaign perfect, only if they win all their games. But there are also teams like Racing who consider it perfect if they grab a couple of wins, a couple of draws and sneak into the top ten in the table. But even by Racing’s standards, this has not at all been a perfect start.
They sit a lowly sixteenth in the table and may sink lower come the end of this week. Racing was struggling in the second half of last year’s campaign, and that has persisted during the start of this season. If by some miracle they get something from the match at the Bernabeu, they might just be able to kick start their campaign on a positive note. However, their coach has confessed that it’s going to be a tough trip to the capital.
Real Madrid – Sergio Ramos was expected to come back to the Milan game but sat out because of his ankle injury. It is still uncertain when he’ll be back. Other than him, Gago, Kaka, and Garay are still long term causalities. Mourinho will be lining up the same side that played against Milan.
Probable Starting Lineup: Casillas; Arbeloa-Pepe-Carvalho-Marcelo; Alonso-Khedira; Ronaldo-Ozil-Di Maria; Higuain
Racing Santander – Alexandros Tziolis took a heavy knock in Greece’s last game and is understood to be sidelined for six months. It’s a big blow for the midfielder and for Racing, whose woes continue unabated.
Probable Starting Lineup: Martinez; Malia-Ponce-Henrique-Cisma; Morales-Edu-Colsa-Manuel Arana; Rosenberg-Munitis
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) –
Even after Ronaldo scored 33 goals in 33 games for Real Madrid last season, some were not convinced that he was in his best form. They were probably right, because Ronaldo is now back to his devastating best. He demonstrated this on Tuesday when he tore apart the Milan defence several times, scoring once and assisting Ozil in the process. Anyone can fancy Ronaldo to repeat his performance against Racing tomorrow and help Real Madrid keep their top spot. Expect another scintillating performance from the Portuguese superstar.
The two teams are at the opposite ends in the table and this will probably continue after this week too. Real Madrid is yet to lose a contest under Jose Mourinho, and it is highly unlikely that they will do so on Saturday against a struggling Racing Santander side. Expect Real Madrid to once again thrill the Bernabeu and hold on to their top spot in the table.
Real Madrid 3-0 Racing Santander
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST