Week 11, Liga BBVA, Spain
El Molinon, Gijon, Spain
November 14th, 2010, 11:30 PM, IST
After coming through the Copa Del Rey game in midweek without any shocks, Real Madrid looks to continue their impressive streak in the league. The El Classico is only a couple of weeks away, so the Galacticos will be looking to maintain their lead over their bitter rivals.
Not in the best of form
While Real Madrid enter this game being undefeated in any competition, Sporting have been struggling really hard to get positive results. They have drawn their last three league matches and were defeated in a league game before that. Their last win came surprisingly against Sevilla almost a month back.
As if that was not enough, the Rojiblancos were eliminated from the Copa Del Rey in midweek by Mallorca. Manolo Preciado is already in big trouble and a game against Real Madrid was the last thing he wanted at this time. But, if Sporting manage to dig out a positive result, the pressure might ease off of the players and their coach. Currently, Sporting lie 13th in the La Liga table as they look to resurrect their season.
No King sized upsets
For two years running, Real Madrid were humiliatingly kicked out of the Copa Del Rey round of 32 by teams whose turnovers are less than what Cristiano Ronaldo earns at Real Madrid. But this year, under Mourinho, they successfully went past the tricky hurdle in flying colors by dismantling Real Union 5-1 in midweek.
Mourinho’s men are becoming strong by the day and are looking more and more difficult to beat, which is a good sign, because they head into the Classico in a couple of weeks. Mourinho gave a Spanish look to the team against Real Union, but should be back to using his regular eleven for the game against Sporting. Real can be confident of taking the three points from El Molinon but should avoid complacency.
TEAM NEWS AND TACTICAL BRIEF
Sporting Gijon: Sporting plays a 4-3-2-1 formation which will also work as a 4-3-3 in times of needs. Juan Pablo starts in goal with Lora, Arnolin, Botia, and Canella making the back four. Cuevas, Rivera, and Eguren make the 3 in the 4-3-2-1 formation. Castro and Carmelo will have all the freedom to roam around and play behind Sangoy who acts as the lone striker. Sporting play possession football and make some neat moves before scoring a goal. They also have individual players who can score spectacular goals. Nacho Novo scored a brilliant volley last week, so expect some long distance shooting from the front three.
Probable Starting XI: Juan Pablo; Lora-Arnolin-Botia-Canella; Cuevas-Eguren-Rivera; Castro-Carmelo; Sangoy
Real Madrid: No Galactico is struggling with injuries apart from long term absentees Kaka and Gago. The good news for Mourinho is, Garay is back and training at full speed, so that gives him another option in defence. As always, Iker Casillas will start in goal covered by the back four of Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, and Marcelo. Khedira is back to partner Alonso in midfield after a deserving rest in midweek. Ozil, who was also rested in midweek, will be looking to continue his impressive form by helping his teammates Di Maria, Ronaldo and Higuain who will be part of the front four that will look to score plenty of goals.
Probable Starting XI: Casillas; Ramos-Pepe-Carvalho-Marcelo; Alonso-Khedira; Di Maria-Ozil-Ronaldo; Higuain
Sporting Gijon: D-D-D-L-L
Real Madrid: W-W-D-W-D
1. Sporting haven’t won against Real Madrid in the last four games they have played against the Capital Giants. In those games, Sporting have managed to score only twice, while Real Madrid have scored a whopping 14 goals.
2. Real Madrid remains undefeated in all competitions and their best start to a La Liga campaign continues.
3. Last year, this fixture resulted in a drab goalless draw.
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER TO WATCH OUT FOR
Angel Di Maria (Real Madrid)
Cristiano Ronaldo is in red hot form and is making all the headlines for his unparalleled goal scoring streak, but it is his teammate Di Maria who is looking more and more dangerous with every passing game. Di Maria’s work rate is tremendous and his technical ability is supreme. Against Real Union in the Copa Del Rey game, Di Maria made an outrageous assist to Cristiano Ronaldo. As the team is growing stronger, Di Maria too is becoming dangerous. So, expect a brilliant performance from the Argentine wing wizard.
Sporting Gijon 0-3 Real Madrid
This looks like an easy game for Real Madrid and they should be able to take home three comfortable points if they repeat their midweek performance. Although teams like Sporting are highly motivated when they come up against Real Madrid, they have very little chance from this one. Expect a clinical Real Madrid performance and three comfortable points.
TheHardTackle’s BLAST FROM THE PAST