Juegos Mediterraneos, Almeria
January 17, 2011, 1:30 AM, IST
Although Real Madrid travels to Almeria, the match is probably the last thing on the minds of Madrid’s head honchos. Almeria is currently struggling at the bottom of the table and the result seems to be a foregone conclusion given the resources Real have at their disposal. The focus seems to be on something completely unrelated to the match on hand: the possible return of ‘Van Gol’ to the white coliseum. This single point agenda has hogged all the limelight, with the match being relegated to a footnote.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Real Madrid: Although the team has picked itself up and there has not been much to analyze here, this time around Mourinho asked the team to train behind closed doors; which could mean that the ‘special Juan’ might have a tactical surprise up his sleeve.
Ozil is rumoured to be injured and it is possible that Kaka might start. The fans might be in for a treat if Mou decides to go all out and play Canales as a playmaker with Kaka acting as a ‘false’ striker. In Madrid’s last game Khedira had been asked to cover for the loss of a defender and in this game we may see a very adventurous line-up given the modest opposition Real will be facing.
On the counter, Khedira will fall back and act as a 4th defender and on the offensive he can act as a foil to Alonso.
Possible starting line-up(3-2-4-1): Casillas, Ramos, Carvalho, Marcelo, Khedira, Alonso, Ronaldo, Di Maria, Kaka, Canales, Benzema.
Probable starting line-ups
Almeria: Almeria have adopted a gung ho approach recently and this has yielded mixed results; the prime example being the 8-6 aggregate victory over Sevilla. Although Almeria like to attack a lot, they have 2 holding midfielders and roaming forward is someone who’s less of a ‘No. 9’ and more of a Benzema kind of a striker. Crusat and Piatti provide width with Corona moving into the space behind the defense with Uche acting as a distraction. Almeria, despite being relegation fodder, prefer oppositions with a high backline and with Real Madrid being exactly this kind of opposition, the game will prove to be an entertaining one.
Possible starting line-up(4-2-3-1): Alves, Ortiz, Garica, Acasiete, Michel, Pellerano, MBami, Piatti, Corona, Crusat, Uche
1. Pepe is out injured for a month.
2. Lass has been ‘rested’ because of an injury.
3. Diego Alves is the best penalty stopper currently in La Liga with a save rate of above 50%
TheHardTackle’s PLAYER (S) TO WATCH OUT FOR
Benzema (Real Madrid)
Despite all protestations to the contrary, the sands of time seem to be running out for ‘Benz’. With Real Madrid now officially looking for a striker Benzema will have a competitor to contend with. This game might be among the very last times he starts for Madrid. He surely needs to prove that he can cut it at this level.
Diego Alves (Almeria)
Diego Alves will have a lot coming his way and with his 2 starting defenders missing, the Brazilian gatekeeper will be extremely overworked. The eventual outcome will depend to a considerable degree on his performance.
Almeria 1-5 Real Madrid
With two teams on pitch who like to attack, the encounter will be a fiery one with Almeria in all likelihood at the receiving end. THT predicts Real Madrid will hammer the living daylights out of Almeria, although the latter might sneak in a consolation goal.