REAL MADRID CF

v

CA OSASUNA

Estadio Santiago BernabAi??u, Madrid
November 6, 2011; 1630 IST

***

.

After exorcizing the ghost of Stade de Gerland, Real Madrid await JosAi?? Luis Mendilibarai??i??s Osasuna at their home. JosAi?? Mourinho will be pleased with his teamai??i??s performance in the past few weeks in which they have moved to the top of the table in La Liga and have cemented their place in the next round of the Championsai??i?? League. They are now the only team in Europe to have won all their CL encounters so far without even conceding a goal.

Many people believe that this Real Madrid squad has grown immensely compared to last season and they do look fitter and better without any signs of fatigue. Mourinho also has been rotating his influential players barring Ronaldo and Alonso but still has managed to produce pleasing results.

Osasuna, on the other hand are coming to Madrid with a victory against then league leaders, Levante. Los Rojillos have been unbeaten at home so far but their away form has been dismal.

When both sides met in January this year, Osasuna defeated Real Madrid in a match, in which the visiting team looked hopeless and bereft of any ideas. The might of Galacticos managed a meager two shots on target as Osasuna effectively ended Real Madridai??i??s dream of regaining the La Liga crown.

Team News and Tactical Brief

Real Madrid

The Spanish giants have been literally unstoppable at home. Ai??The injury to Ricardo Carvalho has proved to be a blessing in disguise for the Whites. Sergio Ramos, who was criticized for his ineffective displays as a right back, is relishing his new role in the heart of the defense and his partnership with Pepe was also praised by Mourinho in his post-match comments after the Lyon game –

“Pepe and Sergio are giving excellent performances in the centre and I have to think about giving them continuity”

Marcelo has been a giant and an initiator for so many attacks down the left but with the injury to him, Mourinho will need to reshuffle his options. Coentrao and Arbeloa are also doubtful for the clash which means Lass and Albiol will need to reprise the same roles they carried out against Lyon.

It does not look like Xabi Alonso will be rested in the near future and his partnership with Sami Khedira is proving to be the cornerstone on which this brilliant team will thrive. Kaka has been ruled out of the game by Mourinho himself which means that Ozil will be the primary playmaker.

Angel Di Maria has responded well after the initial criticism on his diving and lack of decision making but needs to work on not losing the ball in good positions. After receiving his Golden Boot award, Cristiano Ronaldo will look to add up to his impressive tally this year by providing the fire power from the left wing.

Only the second Madridista to win the Golden Boot

.

Mourinho has also pointed out the advantage of having two world class strikers at his disposal and the inclusion of Benzema in the stating XI against Lyon ensures that Higuain will be the primary striker against Osasuna.

On the tactical front, there is hardly any doubt that Osasuna will play a counter attacking style of football, very similar to what they played against Levante at Reyno de Navarra. This means that Real cannot afford to sit back and play a dull game. They need to attack and pick gaps in the Osasuna defense with their constant movement. They need to draw out Osasuna to utilize any space between the back four and their goal keeper.

Real Sociedad proved to be a tough opponent for Madrid as they held their defensive lines and disallowed any space for the opposing to exploit. Mourinho needs to ensure that his team always comes up with solutions when they face such oppositions.

Expected Starting XI (4-2-3-1) – Casillas; Albiol, Pepe, Ramos, Lass; Khedira, Xabi; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain

Real Madrid v Osasuna - Probable Stating XI

Osasuna

The Pamplona side will be in high spirits after grounding the high-flying Levante. JosAi?? Luis Mendilibar has ensured that his side does not vie for the relegation spots by maintaining a perfect record at home so far. But, they have been disastrous away from home and their 14 goals on the road, highest for any side so far, are proof of their ineffectiveness.

Osasuna will miss the services of Alvaro Cejudo who will be suspended for this game thanks to a red card against Levante which could mean the inclusion of Kike Sola in the starting XI.

Mendilibar can take some cues from the Sociedad side that managed to minimize the threat of Madridai??i??s offense for the most part. He will ply the same tactics as he did against Levante, by staying deep and looking for any breaks on a counter attack.

Expected Starting XI (4-3-3) – Fernandez; Bertran, Lolo, Sergio, Raitala; Punal, Garcia, Nekounam; Ai??Kike Sola, Nino, Ibra

Key Facts

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo has now scored a staggering 100 goals in only 105 games for Real Madrid.
  2. Mourinho’s first league win as a Real Madrid coach was against Osasuna.

TheHardTackle’s Player to Watch OutAi??

Raul Albiol

A point to prove

.

The Spanish International was sidelined by Mourinho in favor of the Portuguese duo of Carvalho and Pepe. With Carvalho getting injured, Ramos moved into the centre of defense, enabling Arbeloa to take over. With Coentrao injured and Arbeloa doubtful for the clash, Albiol will take his place in the defense on either wing. This may be his chance to prove his worth to the manager.

TheHardTackle’s Prediction

Real Madrid 3 – 0 Osasuna

Real Madrid may just be too hot for Osasuna to handle and Mourinho will certainly prefer not to drop any points,Ai??at leastAi??before El Clasico. A victory or atleast a draw for Osasuna looks improbable.

TheHardTackle’s Blast From the Past

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One Response to “Real Madrid v Osasuna – Preview : Last Week Levante, This Week Real Madrid?”

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  1. sachcharit says:

    Good preview Rizwan. This will be a tough game as we struggle against teams that defend deep and virtually put out their entire team to defend. But given that we are playing at home we should be able to win this one.

    I am not sure whether Albiol to ready to start the game as he might not have full match fitness. If he does start, its best if he plays as CB with Ramos playing RB.