La Romareda, Zaragoza, Aragon
12.12.2010, 11:30 PM IST

After the 4-0 drubbing of Auxerre in the Champions League midweek, Real Madrid, 2nd in the league, travel to La Romareda to face Real Zaragoza, who are last in the table and fighting for their survival in the league. Real Zaragoza are in a very bad shape currently and on current form only hope that Real Madrid don’t score too many goals against them. It is a mismatch, at least on paper.

After a dismal start to the season, Los Manos replaced Jose Aurelio Gay as their manager and have appointed former Athletico Madrid coach, Javier Aguirre. Meanwhile Real Madrid will look forward to welcome Jose Mourinho on the bench after he served his suspension in the Champions League match against Auxerre.

Team News and Tactical brief

Real Madrid C.F

Undoubtedly, Los Blancos will go into this match as hot favorites. After the painful loss to Barcelona, Real Madrid have looked good against Valencia and Auxerre and can only be expected to be at their best against a weaker Real Zaragoza.

Real Madrid will be looking to extend their winning streak in the La liga and keep up with the Catalan giants. They cannot afford to lose any more points at this stage as Barcelona look highly unlikely to drop any until at least the next Clasico. The two Diarras started against Auxerre in centre midfield instead of the usual pairing of Xabi Alonso and Sami Khedira. With Khedira carrying a minor niggle, it is expected that Mahamadou Diarra will fill in Khedira’s position in the midfield. The defense of Real Madrid is further bolstered by the recovery of Garay and it looks like Jose Mourinho will have plenty of options in defense on the field as well as on the bench. Another positive development is the recovery of Angel Di Maria from his toe injury. In the previous match against Valencia, Mourinho snubbed Benzema and started without a proper striker. But the hat trick by Benzema against Auxerre might just turn the tide in favor of him. He is likely to be awarded a starting role on the field. Ozil will be the play maker flanked by the irreplaceable Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel DiMaria. Surely, you can expect a crackling display by Real Madrid.

Probable starting Lineup: Casillas, Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Xabi, M.Diarra, Ozil, DiMaria, Ronaldo, Benzema

Real Zaragoza

Los Manos are going through a terrible period in their campaign. The sacking of Gay didn’t help matters either. They were beaten by Valencia at home and blew their best chance to gather full three points by drawing against Almeria. With only one win in the season so far, it would be foolish to predict even a draw for Zaragoza on current form against Real Madrid.

With no major injury problems for Zaragoza, Aguirre will be expected to field most of his first team players. It would be a miracle for Real Zaragoza if they can even come out of this clash with at least point. All Zaragoza will be hoping to do is to press Real Madrid whenever they have the ball and be strong in their defense. Aguirre will probably start with a 4-3-2-1 formation against the Blancos.


Xabi Alonso (Real Madrid)

Alonso - The Madrid Fulcrum

Xabi Alonso has received a fair bit of flak for his performance in the Clasico. He was also not at his usual best against Valencia. The game against Real Zaragoza might just produce the usual Xabi performance by dictating the play from the mid field. Jose Mourinho considers Xabi Alonso as one of his most important players and Alonso would hope to justify his coach’s belief in him again.

Form Guide

Real Madrid last 5 matches : W W L W W
Real Zaragoza last 5 matches: D L D L L

TheHardTackle’s PREDICTION

Real Zaragoza 0-4 Real Madrid