Santiago Bernabeu, Madrid
Sunday, September 2, 17:50 GMT
After experiencing one of his worst starts to a campaign in his career, Jose Mourinho will be pleased with the way Real Madrid nearly demolished Barcelona in front of their home fans to lift the Spanish Super Cup. Contrary to expectations, Real Madrid have gone off to a poor start, sometimes looking out of place and tired at times.
Luka Modric and Michael Essien have arrived at the club while Esteban Granero, Nuri Sahin and Lassana Diarra have been let go. While Ricardo Carvalho’s case is peculiar, Kaka seems to stay have put at the club for another season. The transfer season has finally ended and Real Madrid will be extremely satisfied with the way things have been handled in this window.
Granada, on the other hand, are not a very tough opposition and have struggled in the their first two matches too. Having lost against Rayo 1-0, they drew 1-1 against Sevilla which can be termed as a good result for them.
Team News and Tactical Brief
Mourinho will have the entire squad at his disposal and there are no players with injuries in the squad. Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Arbeloa and Marcelo are expected to lead from the back. Fabio Coentrao has been suspended for his shenanigans in the previous match and will sit out serving a four-match suspension.
While Luka Modric is a quality player, Mourinho may not risk his inclusion as starter in such an important match now. Khedira and Alonso are expected to shore up the midfield.
Mesut Ozil, Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria will lead the line from the front. While Gonzalo Higuain did score the decisive opening goal in the Super Cup, he missed quite a few chances but is expected to retain his starting berth for now. Karim Benzema will enter the fray as a substitute.
Real Madrid have no other way but going all out right from the start. They need to win and win big to kick start their Liga campaign after the disappointments thus far.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) : Casillas; Arbeloa, Ramos, Pepe, Marcelo; Khedira, Alonso; Di Maria, Ozil, Ronaldo; Higuain
Granada are a new look squad, as always, this year. The manager, Juan Antonio Anquel, has already admitted the prowess of his illustrious opponents in ‘having the ability to score seven goals in 15 minutes’.
Granada clearly lack good striking options and rely heavily on Antonio Floro Flores, on loan from Udinese, to help them out. Helping him out will be Orellana, Arabi and Torje forming an attacking midfield trio. Covering them would be Iriney and Rico.
The defense will consist of Siqueira, Gomez, Lopez and Nyom. Granada will have less possession of the ball and will be stranded in their half for most of the time. They need to rely on counter attacks for their goals and while in defense, they need to close down disallowing any running space for Ronaldo or Higuain to run into.
Probable Starting Lineup (4-2-3-1) : Roberto; Nyom, Lopez, Gomez, Siqueira; Rico, Iriney; Torje, Arabi, Orellana; Floro Flores
Player to Watch Out
Gonzalo Higuain (Real Madrid)
The Argentine has been reinstated as the primary striker this season but he needs to finish the chances he creates. Against Barcelona, Pipita created more than half a dozen chances with his brilliant runs but ended up botching them. With Karim Benzema ready to compete for the coveted starting spot, higuain needs to buck and respond in style.
Real Madrid 4 – 0 Granada
With the match being played at Santiago Bernabeu and Madrid fresh off their Super Cup victory over Barcelona, Granada will feel that they have crossed paths with the current champions at the wrong time. Expect Real Madrid to win big.